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Perry County, Pennsylvania 

Including Descriptions of Indian and 

Pioneer Life from the Time of 

Earliest Settlement 

Sketches of Its Noted Men and Women 
and Many Professional Men 





Hain-Moore Company, Publishers 
harrisburg, pa. 


Copyright 1922 


Hain-Moore Company 

JUL 31 32 


'I love tin rocks and ril 

r M y () all those Perry Countians who 

-Z first saw the beautiful rays of the 
morning sun as it came up o'er the 
Blue Ridge Mountains, who cherish 
fond memories of the land of their 
birth, and to those oilier citizens of the 
Republic who have chosen to make 
their abiding place within the borders 
of the Best Little County in the Com- 
monwealth, this book is respectfully 

Thy woods and templed hills." 


THE lands lying north of the Kittatinny or Blue Mountain, 
which wove a part of Cumberland County until 1820, when 
Perry County was organized, form historically one of 
Pennsylvania's most interesting sections for various reasons. 
Here, when the world was in formation, geologists tell us, oc- 
curred upheavals and an admixture of the elements so unusual 
that Perry County, as to-day constituted, has more varieties of 
soil than any other county in the State. 

For many years these lands stood at the very verge of the un- 
broken forests, a veritable out-post of civilization, where the war- 
whoop of the red men yet echoed through the hills while the 
pioneer plied axe and saw, as he hewed from the wooded lands a 
home for himself and his people. Amid such surroundings there 
was no place for the weakling or. timid and thus there came to 
these lands a race of men and women, fearless and unafraid, who 
builded their homes, carved from the wilderness their farm , 
peopled the towns, surged over the borders and became useful 
citizens of other counties and states. They or their descendants 
have filled positions of honor and trust, which included the Presi- 
dency, the Vice-Presidency of two governments, governorships, 
chief justices' places on the supreme courts of three different 
states, and United States senatorships. From no other county 
have come more illustrious men or those whose ancestry have 
abided there, considering the small extent of territory and the 
necessarily attendant small population of a rural county. 

This is more than a history of Perry County, as it records 
much of Indian habitation and devastation and pioneer life long 
before its lands became a county, which has come down to us 
through the mists of another day, being principally based on 
official records and historical accounts of the period, with here and 
there a tinge of tradition, when well founded, which has de- 
scended down the years through generations of responsible people. 

Among the first settlers were men and women of mental vigor 
and talent, and these characteristics became inherent in unborn 
generations, with the attendant result that Perry County has not 
only been the birthplace of many men illustrious in the affairs of 
state, but also of an array of men and women educated in the 
learned professions, who have held, or hold, responsible positions 
in their respective communities, all over Pennsylvania and in a 
large majority of the states of the Union. While the book is in 
no sense a biographical work, yet it is deemed fit and proper to 
record the more noted. Unfortunately the list is not complete, as 



the whereabouts of some at this time is unknown to the author, 
as many letters seeking information remaining unanswered, and 
also for the reason that it is difficult to obtain the records of 
those of the first half -century or more of the county's existence. 
It will serve as a basis for future records. 

Of all these things; of the county's beautiful scenery, with its 
physical distinction and magnificent mountains, verdant valleys, 
rambling and sometimes raging rivers ; of its traditions and its 
treasures — its homes and its people, the book will go into detail. 

It is unfortunate that the work was not undertaken a score of 
years ago ; but the author, who was just young enough to be in- 
cluded in the last conscription of men for the United States army, 
in 1918, during the great World War, at an earlier day never 
even dreamed of personally assuming a work of this importance. 
Had it been undertaken then, the help of many who have since 
passed away could have been enlisted, thus securing data which 
has now been lost for all time. 

In undertaking the task of writing and compiling a history of 
the county of his nativity, the author has not done so under the 
impression that he is more able to do so than others, as there are 
many more competent. It was principally undertaken by him as 
no other had even presumed to do so. A period of almost fifty 
years had elapsed since the publication of Wright's History of 
Perry County, the only separate history of the county published 
since its organization, and which was written in answer to a 
call from the Governor for the compilation of a history of every 
county of the Commonwealth prior to the Centennial of 1876. 

The book's contents are largely the result of development. 
While some of the material used dates back to a boyhood scrap- 
book, and more to the advantages afforded by connection as a 
correspondent from boyhood and later as editor of one of the 
county newspapers, and a continual collection of historical data 
since, yet by far the major portion was gathered, written and 
compiled during the past three years. As the prospectus an- 
nouncing its coming publication was being written, June 28, 1919, 
the bells and whistles at the State Capital were pealing forth the 
glad tidings that the terms of peace had been signed at Versailles, 
and two days later war-time prohibition became effective through- 
out the Nation. 

From the very beginning of writing and compiling this volume 
the author has taken the public into his confidence, through 
notices in the public press, and at every phase of its compilation, 
and with some success. Conjointly with letters seeking informa- 
tion the business end was conducted and its publication assured. 
As the book goes to press the proposed edition has been almost 
wholly subscribed for. Inexperienced in the writing of a book 


the triple method of traveling the territory, with the greater part 
of which he was already familiar, searching legal records and 
doing research work in libraries was adopted in the very begin- 
ning and continued throughout, and found to be advantageous. 
His place of residence and occupation made available the wonder- 
ful library of the State of Pennsylvania, the library of the City 
of New York, occupying a block; the Carnegie Library at Pitts- 
burgh, a veritable acreage of books, and others of less impor- 
tance, an advantage not available a half century ago, when the 
former history was written. The work has been a pleasanl one, 
done in connection with filling a regular position, and if the 
reader enjoys the perusal of the volume half as much as the 
author enjoyed its writing and compilation he is well repaid for 
his efforts, undertaken largely as a labor of love. His one aim 
has been to give to posterity all of the many good things per- 
taining to his native county and its people, in so far as possible, 
in the form of a single volume. Had its completion been hurried 
much valuable data would have been lacking. 

The history of a county differs from that of a state or nation. 
its government being largely a part of a greater territory, and 
necessarily includes matters of state and national importance, as. 
they have a bearing upon local conditions. That tendency is a 
marked one in so far as Perry County is concerned, for in both 
the pioneer period and the sectional war time these lands were 
at the very borderland. In this book there will be fonnd many 
things which naturally are of the state and nation, hut they are 
here embodied, as their bearing on local matters is of import. To 
William C. Sproul, Governor of Pennsylvania; Thomas L. Mont- 
gomery, then State Librarian, and H. H. Shenk, Custodian of 
Public Records, the author is indebted for public sanction of the 
undertaking and for putting at his disposal every facility and ad- 
vantage for securing information. Should he name the published 
works of others which he has searched for information it would 
require pages, as he has gone over many hundreds of them. 

In his many trips within and without the county, the latter 
mostly spent in interviewing former Perry countians, every- 
where he met with the kindest consideration .and regard and to 
name a list of all who gave information is also impossible, but 
they have his most profound thanks for help in the preservation 
of these historical records. Here and there throughout the book 
he gives mention to a few who have been of marked assistance. 
Especial credit is due to Miss Margaret H. Barnett, of New 
Bloomfield, who carefully read practically all of the manuscript 
and made necessary corrections and valuable suggestions ; to 
Prof. H. H. Shenk, custodian of Public Records of the State of 
Pennsylvania, and former Professor of History in Lebanon Yal- 


ley College, for performing a similar duty ; to Dr. George P. 
Donehoo, secretary of the Pennsylvania Historical Commission 
and a noted authority on Indian lore, and now State Librarian, 
for reviewing the Indian chapters, and to the many who read and 
criticised chapters with which they were especially familiar. 

To those who loaned volumes from their lihraries we are in- 
debted, and especially so for the valuable scrap books of Miss 
Minnie Deardorff, Rev. John D. Calhoun, the late Senator Charles 
H. Smiley and others. Ex-Senator James W. McKee and At- 
torney George R. Barnett deserve special mention for aiding in 
research work on many occasions. 

The county editors have been uniformly kind and helpful in 
every way, including the gratuitous use of their columns for 
furthering the work and for seeking information, and the privi- 
lege of searching their files. To Messrs. H. E. Sheibley and W. 
W. Branyan we are also indebted for the use of a number of the 
interesting electrotypes which help illustrate the book. 

Upon the practical completion of the book notice was given 
through the public press, inviting any interested persons to read, 
criticise and correct any misstatements which they might find. 
The privilege of so doing was open for a period of sixty days. 

During the many days spent in the capitol building and state 
library at Harrisburg the writer was treated with the utmost 
courtesy and consideration, both by the employees and their 
chiefs. They are skilled in their respective duties and considerate 
of the general public, whose business calls them to Capitol Hill. 

While the work was in progress death took from us a num- 
ber of men and women who had offered help in securing material 
and facts, some of which appears here and there throughout the 
book. Among these were Prof. L. E. McGinnes, Prof. Daniel 
Fleisher, Frank Penned, Mrs. Annie Swartz Hench, wife of Harry 
F. Hench, and Mrs. Clara Lahr Moore, wife of Dr. E. E. Moore, 
two cultured and learned women. 

As the work took form the impression was made that no mat- 
ter what proportion it assumed upon completion there would 
still be a lack of finality, as ever and anon there appeared new 
(or rather old) data, legend, tradition, and sketches of men — 
and still more men — who had gone forth from Perry County and 
its territory and lived lives of honor and distinction. There will 
be errors, of course, but the statements herein made have all been 
secured or transferred from historical or other books, public 
records, newspaper files, scrap-books, etc., except where noted. 
Where statements have differed the one supported by facts has 
been used. 

H. H. Hain. 

Harrisburg, Pa., January io, 1922. 



I. Location, Physical Features, Geology, Etc. 15 

II. Earliest Records of Indian Inhabitants 37 

III. Intruding Settlers Evicted 57 

IV. Treaty of Peace, but a Devastating In- 

dian Warfare 84 

V. Simon Girty, the Renegade 104 

VI. Duncan's and Hauh; man's Islands [18 

VII. Coming of the Trader 137 

VIII. Coming of the Pioneers [48 

IX. Perry County in the Revolutionary War 161 
X. Perry County Territory in the War of 

1812 177 

XI. The Province and "Mother Cumberland" [82 

XII. Perry County Established 201 

XIII. The Fight for the County Seat 221 

XIV. Trails and Highways 231 

XV. Old Landmarks, Mills and Industries . . 247 

XVI. The Earliest Churches 280 

XVII. The County Schools, Past and Present 369 

XVIII. Academies and Public Institutions 335 

XIX. Postrider and Stagecoach 362 

XX. Rivers, Streams and Old Ferries 374 

XXI. River and Canal Transportation 401 

XXII. Building of the Pennsylvania Railroad 421 

XXIII. Projected and Other Railroads 431 

XXIV. The Sunday School Movement in Perry 

County 438 

XXV. The Liquor Question 443 

XXVI. The County's Public Officials 448 

XXVII. The Bench and Bar 459 

XXVIII. The Public Press ^3 

XXIX. Banks and Corporations 488 

XXX. County's Early Years — A Comparison . . . 407 

XXXI. Perry County in the Sectional War .... 543 

XXXII. The Spanish-American War 580 

XXXIII. The World War and Perry County 582 

XXXIV. Perry County's Noted Men 604 

XXXV. Agriculture in Perry County 862 

XXXVI. The Tuscarora Forest 870 

XXXVII. Perry County From Many Viewpoints . . 882 
XXXVIII. Perry County's Boroughs, Townships and 

Villages 911 




The Author Frontispiece 

Map of Perry County 6 

Gibson's Rock 16 

Susquehanna Water Gap, at Duncannon 39 

The Lincoln Profile Rock 60 

Junction of the Juniata and Susquehanna Rivers 82 

The Indian Profile at Girty's Notch 105 

Scene at Haldeman's Island 131 

Sherman's Creek, near Gibson's Rock 140 

A Pioneer Bride and Groom 154 

The Old State House at Philadelphia 167 

William Penn, the Founder of the Province 183 

Landisburg, the First County Seat 202 

Robert Mitchell, One of the First Commissioners 214 

The Courthouse at New Bloomfield 221 

New Bloomfield, Looking North 224 

The Old Rice Gristmill near Landisburg 2^^ 

"Westover," the Gibson Mill 258 

John Wister, Noted Iron Manufacturer jyS 

Rev. Chas. Beatty, Pioneer Missionary 282 

Rev. Jacob Gruber, a Circuit Rider 287 

Pioneer Communion Service 290 

Jacob Buck, a Zealous Churchman 300 

Daniel A. Kline, County Supt. of Schools 310 

Schoolhouses at Mt. Pleasant ^22 

Lewis B. Kerr, Early County Supt. of Schools 327 

vSilas Wright, Educator and Historian ^^2 

The Loysville Academy 336 

Football at Carson Long Institute 342 

William Grier, Associate Judge and Educator 345 

William Carson Long 346 

Donald C. Willard 347 

The Tressler Soldiers' Orphans' Home 351 

Rev. Philip Willard 353 

Charles A. Widle, Supt. Tressler Orphans' Home 355 

The Juniata River at Iroquois 374 

The Flood of 1889 at Newport 391 

The Pennsylvania Canal at Mt. Patrick 402 

Pennsylvania Canal and Aqueduct at Newport 41 1 

The Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge at Marysville 424 

Pennsylvania Railroad Tracks Along the Juniata 429 




r \or, 

Rev. Matthew B. Patterson 445 

Judge Benjamin F. Junkin 460 

Judges Charles A. and James M. Barnett 466 

Judges Win. N. Seibert and James W. Shall 468 

Horace E. Sheibley, Editor 477 

James A. Magee and Wm. C. Lebo, Editors 479 

Frank A. Fry and Sons, Editors 480 

C. B. Smith and R. M. Barton, Editors |Sj 

John A. Baker, Leading Abolitionist and Editor 483 

John A. Magee, Democratic Editor and Congressman [X | 

John H. Sheibley, Noted Republican Editor 485 

The Duncannon National Bank 491 

The First National Bank of New Bloomfield 492 

Lieut. Edward Moore, Paul Fleisher and James Zimmerman 588 

Warren G. Harding, President of the United States 609 

-Thomas R. Marshall, Vice-President of the United States 612 

Alexander H. Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederacy 614 

James G. Blaine, Noted American Statesman 626 

Chester I. Long, Lhiited States Senator 633 

William Bigler, Governor of Pennsylvania 637 

John Bigler, Governor of California 645 

Gen. Stephen Miller, Governor of Minnesota 650 

Gen. James A. Beaver, Governor of Pennsylvania 655 

John Bannister Gibson, Chief Justice of Pennsylvania .... 667 

Daniel Gantt, Chief Justice of Nebraska 677 

Henry Calvin Thatcher, First Chief Justice of Nebraska . . 681 

John A. Thatcher, Pioneer Merchant and Banker 689 

The Thatcher Building at Pueblo, Colorado 691 

Mahlon D. Thatcher, Noted Financier and Banker 693 

Col. A. K. McClure, Noted Editor 701 

Luther M. Bernheisel, Noted Builder 70 ^ 

Elihu C. Irvin, Noted Insurance President 707 

Marie Doro, Famous Dramatic Star 709 

Carlton Lewis Bretz, Noted Railroad Man 714 

Elizabeth Reif snyder, M.D 717 

Mina Kerr, College Dean 718 

David L. Tressler, College President 720 

Chas. W. Super, University President yi^ 

Jesse Miller, Notable Early Congressman yiy 

Benj. K. Focht, Member of Congress 730 

Harris J. Bixler, Member of Congress 731 

J. R. Flickinger, Principal Central Slate Normal School . . y^y 

L. E. McGinnes, Supt. of Steelton Schools, 742 

,Wm. Nelson Ehrhart, Supt. Mahanoy City Schools 746 

Theodore K. Long, Founder Carson Long Institute 748 



Sheridan E. Fry, Municipal Judge at Chicago 752 

Rev. and Mrs. John R. Peale, Martyred Missionaries 754 

D. F. Garland, D.D., Noted Welfare Director 763 

Anna Froehlich, Noted Teacher 767 

H. W. Flickinger, Expert Penman 769 

Lelia Dromgold Emig, Genealogist 771 

S. Nevin Hench (Inventor) and Walker A. Dromgold . . . 773 

Col. George E. Kemp, Postmaster of Philadelphia 'jj'j 

Wm. F. Calhoun. Speaker Illinois Assembly 780 

Rev. John Dill Calhoun 784 

Rev. James W r . Meminger, D.D 786 

Rev. Barnett H. Hart 787 

Emmett U. Aumiller, Ex-County Supt. of Schools 7<ji 

S. S. Bloom, Member General Assembly of Ohio ~<)S 

Rev. Roy Dunkelberger, Missionary 806 

Daniel Fleisher, Supt. Lancaster County Schools 808 

Milton B. Gibson, Noted Manufacturer 812 

John L. McCaskey, Inventor S_>0 

Samuel F. Stambaugh, Large Real Estate Dealer S46 

Albert H. Stites, State Senator South Dakota 848 

Centre Square and Soldiers' Monument at Bloomfield .... 916 

Blain Borough and Conococheague Mountain 928 

Jane ( Smiley) McCaskey 942 

Duncannon Borough and Juniata Creek Road 950 

Sherman's Creek near its Mouth at Duncannon 952 

Clark M. Bower, Member of Assembly 969 

Looking South from Liverpool 983 

Marysville from Cove Mountain 100 1 

Millcrstown, Oldest Town in the County 101 1 

Millerstown's World War Monument 10 1 S 

Newport, Perry County's Largest Town . . 1024 

Ickesburg and Landscape 1052 


PERRY COUNTY. Pennsylvania, is located in the southern 
central portion of the state, just north of the Kittatinny 
(Blue) Mountain, its southern boundary being within forty 
miles of the Mason-Dixon Line, that historic line which not only 
separated the states of Pennsylvania and Maryland, but which he- 
came, politically, the boundary line between the North and the 
South, on the slavery question. In fact, in much of the legislation 
appertaining to slavery, this line was the barrier against which two 
contending forces battled, practically from the time of the forma- 
tion of the United States until the best blood of the nation was 
spilled in the four years of war between the States, 1861-65. 

Perry County is bounded on the north by Juniata County ; on 
the east by the Susquehanna River, across which lies Dauphin 
County; on the south by Cumberland County; and on the wesl 
by Franklin and Juniata Counties. It contains 564 square miles. 
according to Smull's Handbook, the official publication of the 
commonwealth. Groff, in the History of the Juniata and Susque- 
hanna Yalleys, gives the square miles as 480 ; Claypole, the geolo- 
gist, gives the number at 539, and Wright, in his History of Perry 
County, makes the number 550, which show considerable variance. 

While the size of Perry County is relatively small, yet it is not 
the smallest county in Pennsylvania, by any means. Twenty- 
seven others are smaller in area, but many of them have a vastly 
greater population. It is larger than either Cumberland or Dauphin. 
Perry County is credited with 564 square miles. The other coun- 
ties whose area is not so great are as follows : Montour, 130 square 
miles; Philadelphia, 133; Delaware, 185; Union, 305; Snyder. 
311; Lehigh, 344; Lawrence, 360 ; Lebanon, 360; Northampton, 
3;_>; Juniata, 392; Cameron, 392; Wyoming, 30; ; Mifflin, 398; 
Fulton, 402; Carbon, 406; Forest, 423; Beaver, 429; Lacka- 
wanna, 451 ; Sullivan, 458 ; Columbia. 479 ; Luzerne, 484; Mont- 
gomery, 484; Dauphin, 521; Cumberland, 528; Adams, 528; 
Blair, 534, and Pike, 544. 

In population, eleven other counties of the state have less. Ac- 
cording to the census of 1920, Perry County's population was 
22,875. The counties having less are Cameron, Pike, Forest, Sul- 
livan, Fulton, Montour, Wyoming, Juniata, Union, Snyder, and 




The United Slates Census Bureau, in a bulletin, 192 1, classes 
Perry County as one of eight "truly rural" counties in Pennsyl- 
vania — along with Forest, Ful- 
ton, Juniata, Pike, Snyder, Sulli- 
van, and Wyoming — for the rea- 
son that the 1920 census showed 
no communities of 2,500 or over 
in population. Were the built-up 
sections at Newport in one dis- 
trict, instead of being divided into 
Newport and Oliver Township, 
that town would show a greater 
population than that figure. While 
classed as a rural county, Perry 
County is within fifteen minutes 
of the State Capital, within three 
hours of Philadelphia or the Capi- 
tal of the nation at Washington, 
and within five hours of New 
York City. A ride of a little 
over four hours and you are at 
the surf of the great Atlantic 
Ocean. The great bend in the 
river below Newport marks the 
half-way point over the Pennsyl- 
vania Railroad, between New 
York and Pittsburgh. 

According to a bulletin of the 
State Forestry Department 210 
square miles are wooded land, 
comprising 134,400 acres, out of 
a total of 304,640. 

The seventy-seventh degree of 
longitude west of Greenwich 
passes through the county, cut- 
ting the townships of Rye, Watts, 
Buffalo, and Liverpool, passing 
the village of Montgomery's 
Ferry, and going through Liver- 
pool Borough. On its way through the state it goes through 
Hanover and passes, a short distance east of Williamsport, thus 
showing our relative positions with towns in the northern and 
southern sections. The seventy-seventh degree also passes through 
the National Capital. All the Southern states, save small sections 
of Virginia and North Carolina, lie west of it, an unusual fact to 
many. The entire county lies between the seventy-sixth and. 

koto by 1 1 lick 


Located on Sherman's Creek. By it lay 

the "Allegheny Path," the First Great 

Indian Trail to the West. 


seventy-eighth degrees, and almosl all of it between the sevent} 
seventh and seventy-eighth. It lies between the fortieth and fort) 
first degrees of latitude. A line drawn from Pittsburgh to Read- 
ing, Pennsylvania, would pass through New Bloomfield, and one 
from Johnstown to Reading, through Marysville. 

Considered in size, Perry County is one of the smaller counties 
of the state, and yet it is almost half of the size of the state of 
Rhode Island, and almost one-fourth as large as the state of Dela- 
ware. Its average length is thirty-fight miles, and its average 
breadth, fourteen miles. Its elevation varies very much. At the 
mouth of the Juniata it is 357.4 feet above sea level, and at the 
Gibson mill in Spring Township, it is 471 feet. The old road over 
Bower Mountain, in Jackson Township, according to Claypole, the 
geologist, is 950 feet above the valley, 1,350 feet above Landis- 
burg, and 2,000 feet above the level of the sea. 

Its location is in the Atlantic slope of the great Appalachian 
Mountain system, of which Groff* says: "The construction of the 
underground world is so beautifully simple as a whole, and so 
curiously complicated in details, that it will ever stand the typical 
district of the Appalachian Mountain belt of the Atlantic sea- 
board." The shape of the county resembles roughly a triangle, or 
rather, a pennant. Its acreage is 360,960, according to the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture of the State. 

Along the eastern boundary, where winds the broad Susque- 
hanna, from a point about five miles above Liverpool to below 
Marysville, where the river breaks through the Blue or Kittatinny 
Mountain, the distance is twenty-nine miles, or twenty-one by air 

*George G. Groff, M.D., former Professor of Natural History, Bucknell 

Gibson's Rock. Gibson's Rock is located along the north side of Sher- 
man's Creek, three miles west of Shermansdale. It is a striking geological 
formation, of which the county has many, and yet this is a surpassing one 
in size and interest. Located at the dividing line of Spring and Carroll 
Townships this mighty crag towers from the bed of Sherman's Creek 
almost perpendicularly. West of it the old Indian trail, known as the 
Allegheny Path, crossed the creek to the northern side. Here the moun- 
tain evidently once breasted the creek and held back waters which covered 
several townships, according to geologists. Picturesquely situated, this 
point has long been a mecca for campers, outings, and picnics. Above it, 
within sound of the human voice, stood the famous Gibson mansion, and 
still stands the "Westover" or Gibson mill. In that house was born Chief 
Justice John Bannister Gibson, Governor William Bigler, and John Bern- 
heisel, representative in Congress from the then Territory of Utah. f,<>\ 
ernor William Bigler had a brother, John Bigler, who was governor of 
California at the same time that his brother was governor of Pennsyl- 
vania, but John Bigler was born at Landisburg, where his parents resided. 
prior to coming to the Westover mill in 1809. During the early years of 
the county's existence a bill passed the Pennsylvania Legislature making 
Sherman's Creek navigable, and many huge boulders were blown from 
flie creek's bottom, some within the shadow of the great cliff, the drill 
marks being yet distinguishable. 


line. The trend of the river is from north to south, with consid- 
erable bend to the west at Duncannon. The southern boundary, 
starting at the Susquehanna River from a point seven miles north 
of Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, follows the crest of 
the Blue Mountain, adjoining Cumberland County, for fifty-three 
miles, at an average elevation of one thousand feet above the Cum- 
berland Valley, to the south. The course of the mountain for the 
first twenty-two miles is almost a straight line, due westward. 
Then it curves back, northward, to Welsh Hill, and makes a loop, 
in which lies Green Valley. Going out again to practically the 
same line from which it receded, to Pilot Knob, it makes a second 
loop— deeper than the first — which is the location of Kennedy's 
Valley. Thereafter its course is practically southwest to the 
Franklin County line for over a dozen miles. The air line dis- 
tance along the southern border is thirty-eight miles. 

The extreme western boundary, which borders Franklin County, 
is only a little over eight miles, crossing a series of mountains, 
described further on, at very irregular intervals. From the north- 
west corner it follows the crest of the Tuscarora Mountain to the 
Juniata River, the first ten miles being almost straight in a north- 
eastern direction. It then makes two small offsets at the west of 
Madison Township and assuming the same general direction runs 
"straight as a crow flies" to the western bank of the Juniata River. 
At this point the line runs due north for a mile and a half, and 
thence almost due east about thirteen miles to the western bank of 
the Susquehanna River. 

The mountains in and surrounding Perry County are from six 
hundred to twelve hundred feet high, measured from the valley 
levels adjoining, but are eight hundred to sixteen hundred feet 
above sea level. A brief description of these mountains follows, 
much of the information being drawn from the works of Professor 
Claypole, the geologist: 


Kittatinny or Blur Mountain. This mountain is known by various names. 
Geographers term it the Blue Mountain; the pioneers called it the Kitta- 
tinny Mountain, derived from the Indian "Kau-ta-tin-chunk," meaning the 
main or principal mountain ; Conrad Weiser, the Indian interpreter, inter- 
preted it as "the endless mountain" ; Richard Peters, the provincial secre- 
tary, in a letter to Governor Hamilton, dated July 2, 1750, first officially 
called it "the Blue Hills"; the residents east of the Susquehanna called 
it the First Mountain, and the residents of the Cumberland Valley called 
and many yet call it the North Mountain, as it lies north of that valley. 
In a provincial record dated May 6, 1752, this mountain is called "Kekach- 
tany" or "Endless Hills," the title which the Delaware Indians applied to 
it. In the Albany grant of July 6, 1754, for the lands which now com- 
prise Perry County and others, recorded in the provincial records of 
February 3, 1755, it is called the Kittochtinny or Blue Hills, by which it 
was known throughout provincial and colonial times in all records. The 


description at the beginning of this chapter only applies to this mountain 
in so far as it is the southern boundary of the county. This Indian 1 
"Kautatinchunk," as quoted in some volumes, is said to have been "Tyan- 
nuntasacta" by the Six Nations, and "Kekachtannin" by the Delaw 
The name is defined at one place as meaning "steadfast in storm and ever 
true blue." It is to be regretted that the old Indian name, Kittatinny, has 
fallen somewhat into disuse. Luther Reily Kelker, in his History of 
Dauphin County, speaking of the Kittatinny Mountain also being called 
the Blue or North Mountain, said, "The Indian name alone should be 
used; any mountain may be blue at a distance, and any one is north of 
some place." 

These mountains (of the Appalachian system) really stretch from a 
point not far from Newburgh, New York, on the Hudson River, across 
New York State, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and enter 
North Carolina and Tennessee, being broken by water gaps to let through 
the waters of the Delaware, the Lehigh, the Schuylkill, the Swatara, the 
Susquehanna, and the Potomac (at Harper's Ferry). At the southern 
part of the county its crest-length of fifty-three miles is unbroken by a 
single water gap. For seventeen miles it runs, with one small zigzag, 
parallel to Bower Mountain, separated from it by the steep and narrow 
vale of the north branch of Laurel Run, which starts at the Franklin 
County line. Both mountains run on thus southwestward through Franklin 
County, unite and end before reaching Fort Loudon. Bower Mountain is 
therefore only a return zigzag of Blue Mountain. 

It received its name First Mountain from the early settlers of south- 
eastern Pennsylvania, especially those who built their cabins along the 
Susquehanna River at Columbia, Marietta, and Harrisburg, and had occa- 
sion to go up the river in canoes through the water gaps. The first moun- 
tain they passed by was this mountain, hence the name, First Mountain. 
The second was Cove Mountain, and from the Susquehanna to the Lehigh 
it has retained the name of Second Mountain ever since; the third was 
the Sharp Mountain of Schuylkill County, which traverses Dauphin County, 
but does not quite reach the Susquehanna River; the fourth was Peters' 
Mountain, opposite Duncannon. Here, at the mouth of the Juniata the 
numerals stopped, as the mountains farther up, Berry's and Buffalo, did 
not run in the same general direction. 

In September, 1742, David Zeisberger, the missionary, and a party of 
friends, among whom was Conrad Weiser, on their way from the settled 
part of the province "came to a ridge of forest-crowned mountains, across 
which led a blind trail, full of loose, sharp stones, and close to high rocks 
the rugged sides of which rendered horseback riding exceedingly danger- 
ous. The mountains being without a name, Conrad Weiser called them 
'The Thiirnstein,' in honor of Zinzendorf. They were the parallel chains 
of the Blue Ridge, now known as the Second, Third, and Peters' Moun- 

The western end of the Tuscarora Mountain, Conococheague Mountain, 
Round Top, Little Round Top, Rising Mountain, Amberson Ridge, Bower 
Mountain, and Middle or Sherman Mountain, named in order from north- 
west to southeast, across the western end of the county, are all in a way 
zigzags of different lengths of one range. The following description from 
Claypole is given verbatim : 

"A woodsman can enter Perry County from Franklin County on the 
rocks at the top of the West Tuscarora Mountain, and walk along the 
rocky crest of this range, alternately towards the northeast and towards 
the southwest, for a total distance of thirty-live miles, reentering Franklin 
County from the crest of Bower Mountain, only three miles across from 


the place where he left it. In all this distance he will keep at nearly the 
same elevation, say 1,600 feet above ocean level, except at three points, 
where the wall on the top of which he is traveling is broken down to its 
base by small streams. One of these water gaps is cut through the West 
Tuscarora Mountain; a second is made by the head of Sherman's Creek, 
which cuts through Rising Mountain; the third is made by Houston's Run 
through the north leg of Bower Mountain. Everywhere else along the 
line he will find the sharp crested mountain unbroken by gaps, with steep 
rock-covered slopes or even cliffs always on his right hand, and a gentler, 
smoother, but still quite steep slope on his left hand. When he turns the 
east end of a zigzag he will see the mountain crest make a long slope 
downward into the valleys of Perry County; and when he turns the west 
ends of the zigzag, he will be on boldly scarped knobs overlooking the 
shale and limestone valleys of Franklin County. On these knobs he will 
always reach a somewhat higher elevation above tide. Round Top and 
Little Round Top are simply the southwestward looking ends of two of 
the zigzags rather more strongly pronounced than the others." 

The district enclosed by these mountains is peculiarly isolated from 
travel, except along the river. While the extreme western part of the 
county is bound by this series of mountain ranges, yet the traveler can go 
through to Amberson Valley, Franklin County, by utilizing the second 
narrows and the break through Bower's Mountain. 

Tuscarora Mountain. The eastern end of the Tuscarora Mountain 
forms a range alone, along its crest for a distance of twenty-one miles 
runs the boundary line which separates Perry from Juniata County. 
Almost straight and continuous, it is broken by a ravine opposite Ickes- 
burg. A small stream flows through this ravine, draining a small glen in 
the heart of the mountain, three miles in length and a half-mile in width. 
At this point the mountain has two crests, the county line following the 
southern. This mountain slopes gently at both ends. In Gordon's His- 
tory of Pennsylvania and Belknap's Gazetteer of Pennsylvania, both of 
which were published in 1832, the Tuscarora is referred to as Tussey's 
Mountain, in these words, "The Juniata River enters Perry County through 
Tussey's Mountain." There is a mountain by that name farther up the 
state, but as these two historians called the Tuscarora "Tussey's Moun- 
tain" it may have been known to many others by that name and hence the 
resultant confusion of pioneer and Indian history and legend. 

Tiik Hill Ranges Within. 

Surrounded by mountains and the Susquehanna River and penetrated 
from the east to a small extent by other mountains the interior of Perry 
County is an extensive wedge-shaped area of open country, traversed by 
many ranges of hills, which vary from two hundred to five hundred feet 
above the levels of the streams which drain them. Some of these hills 
are cultivated in common with the lower soil, a prominent and extensive 
example being the Middle Ridge, which extends ten miles west from 

Raccoon Ridcjc. A ridge in Tuscarora Township, starting some dis- 
tance from the river. At Donally's Mills it is broken by a gap through 
which flows the south branch of Raccoon Creek. 

Ore Ridge. A ridge paralleling the Tuscarora Mountain at its base, 
comparatively low and located within Tuscarora Township. 

Hominy Ridge. The southern boundary of the western half of Tusca- 
rora Township. It is of Chemung shale, which Claypole says is among 
the poorest, adding "of all the Chemung districts that on Hominy Ridge 


is the most uninviting. High, steep and rough, it presents little to attract 
the farmer and the wonder arises why so much of il is cleared." 

Umestone Ridge. A wooded ridge starting- at the Juniata River below 
Bailey's Station, on the Pennsylvania Railroad, in Miller Township, and 
extending westward through the county to the Madison Township line, 
forming the boundary between Miller and Oliver Townships and -< pa 
rating Spring and Tyrone from Saville. Even west of that its formation 
exists, to the western end of the county, but it is more broad and is cul- 
tivated. North of Andersonburg and Centre it is two and a half miles 
broad. From New Bloomfield to the Juniata it has double and at some 
places triple crests. Limestone generally follows its southern surface. 
The U. S. Geological Survey names this ridge, Hickory Ridge, and the 
northern crest, Buffalo Ridge. 

Mulianoy Ridge. Mahanoy Ridge starts near the Juniata River, in Mil- 
ler Township, at a point between Iroquois and Losh's Run stations, on the 
Pennsylvania Railroad, and traverses Miller, Centre, and Spring Town- 
ships. At four points in Miller and Centre Townships it is broken by 
water gaps. Between Green Park and Landisburg it zigzags, coming to an 
abrupt incline at the latter place in a promontory known as Bell's Hill. 

Dick's Hill. This ridge starts in Miller Township, almost five miles 
west of the Juniata River, and becomes from that point the boundary line 
between Miller and Wheatfield Townships. It separates Wheatfield and 
Carroll Townships from Centre and continues into Spring Township, ter- 
minating at a point east of a line between Landisburg and Bridgeport, be- 
ing known as Pisgah Ridge after leaving the Wheatfield Township line. 
Its central portion is shown in old maps as Iron Ridge, and is sometimes 
locally known as Rattlesnake Hill. This ridge was probably known as 
Dick's Hill for its entire length originally, as it is mentioned as being 
crossed by the old Indian trail to the West as early as 1803, by a woman 
then 100 years old, as will be noted in our chapter devoted to "Trails, 
Roads, and Highways." From its eastern gap, through which flows kittle 
Juniata Creek, one of the three earliest churches took its name — the Dick's 
Gap Church, long since gone to decay. This church was not located along 
Dick's Hill however, but along Mahanoy Ridge, a short distance north. 
Dick's Hill was also the site of two pioneer industries, Perry Furnace and 
Montebello Furnace. Claypole says, "Curving round sharply it sweeps for 
almost twenty miles under the name of 'Little Mountain' to the Susque- 
hanna River at Marysville." 

Pisgah Ridge. See Dick's Hill, immediately preceding. 

Pine Hill. This ridge starts in Carroll Township and runs east, forming 
the dividing line between Rye and Wheatfield. It is, in fact, an extension 
of the Cove Mountain. 

Buck Hills. South of New Germantown, in Toboyne Township, a low 
range called Buck Hills rises gradually, but irregularly, until it merges 
into Rising Mountain. 

Chestnut Hills. The Chestnut Hills rise in Madison Township, west of 
Centre, run through Jackson and Toboyne, merge into Amberson Ridge, 
their ascension being gradual. 

Round Top. Right after leaving the county the Conococheague Moun- 
tain turns sharply and reenters the county, forming Pound Top, which 
commands the head of Sherman's Valley and is a conspicuous object for 
many miles. Its course is short, however, and zigzaging again, it passes 
over the county line to the southwest, with a southeast dip, and continues 
for about twelve miles as a range known as Dividing Mountain, as it di- 
vides Path Valley and Amberson Valley, in Franklin County. 

Dividing Mountain. See Round Top. 


Little Rount Top. Located in Toboyne Township, south of Round Top. 

Rising Mountain. Returning from its long lap into Franklin County the 
mountain again reenters Perry County and forms the high, broad, stony 
ridge known as Rising Mountain, lying southwest of New Germantown. 
To the east lie Buck Hills, which rise gradually into a mountain, hence 
the name, Rising Mountain. 

Amberson Ridge. After Rising Mountain crosses into Franklin it laps 
and again crosses the line into Perry, being then known as Amberson 
Ridge. It meets the great fold of Bower Mountain and forms a high knob 
overlooking Amberson Valley, Franklin County. 

Bower Mountain. Bower Mountain is a great level-crested ridge rising 
near Loysville, passing through Madison Township, gently sloping upward 
through Jackson Township, and on entering Toboyne it forms a small 
zigzag and separates into two parts which are unnamed. Named after 
Nathaniel Bower, whose 200-acre farm saddled its crest. 

Mount Pisgah. The highest elevation of the little range of Pisgah 
Mountains is in Carroll Township. Opposite these mountains, near where 
Sherman's Creek breaks through at Gibson's Rock, was born John Ban- 
nister Gibson, once Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. 
It is also known locally as Pisgah Hill. 

Little Mountain. A small ridge lying north of the Blue Mountain, in 
Rye and Carroll Townships and a short distance into Spring Township. 

Slaughterbeck Hill. Sometimes called Michael's Ridge. A conspicuous 
promontory in Pfoutz Valley, Greenwood Township. It blocks entrance 
from the west, rising above every other range in the township. Claypole 
says of it: "It is really a fragment of the great Tuscarora anticlinal which 
has been cut off by the Juniata River from the main body and constitutes 
an outlier. In truth the whole of the valley is a continuation eastward of 
the anticlinal ridge of the Tuscarora, eroded by long ages of frost, rain 
and sunshine." 

Michael's Ridge. See Slaughterbeck's Hill, immediately preceding. 

Wildcat Ridge. A high and rugged ridge separating Perry and Pfoutz 
Valleys, in Greenwood township. It enters Liverpool Township for a 
short distance, but dies down, the two valleys here being less distinct than 
farther west. Rough and rocky at places, where wildcats once had a ren- 
dezvous, hence the name. 

Turkey Ridge. This high ridge, at places farmed to its very top, but 
mostly wooded, is the dividing line between Perry and Juniata Counties at 
Liverpool Township. Like Wildcat Ridge it loses much of its steepness as 
it approaches the Susquehanna River. In pioneer years noted as a great 
wild turkey territory, from which comes the name, Turkey Ridge. 

Half Fall Mountain. In provincial and colonial records, frequently re- 
ferred to as Half Fall Hills. It lies between Buffalo and Watts Town- 
ships, its crest being the township line. It is an extension, across the 
Juniata, of the converging Mahanoy and Limestone Ridges, the limestone 
rocks forming almost a complete dam across the river, producing a "half- 
falls" from which the mountain takes its name. It spans the territory 
completely between the Juniata and Susquehanna Rivers, being crossed by 
a public highway. Below Montgomery's Ferry it ends in a conspicuous 
bluff, near the top of which is a cave supposed to have once been the 
hiding place of Simon Girty, the renegade, but which records practically 
confute. (See chapter on Simon Girty.) On a promontory of the moun- 
tain here is a protruding rock, which viewed coming from the north over 
the Susquehanna Trail, presents the profile of an Indian as perfect as can 
be found, and one which only the Creator, that greatest of artists, could 


Mount Patrick. A name sometimes applied to the end of Berry's Moun- 
tain at the village of that name. 

North Mountain. See Kittatinny Mountain. 

First Mountain. See Kittatinny Mountain. 

Second Mountain. See Kittatinny Mountain. 

Third Mountain. See Kittatinny Mountain. 

Fourth Mountain. See Kittatinny Mountain. This is also known as 
Peters' Mountain and is located opposite to Duncannon, the Cove Moun- 
tain being in reality an extension thereof, the Susquehanna water gap 
cutting through. 

Peters' Mountain. See preceding paragraph. 

Mount Dempsey. A high promontory of the Blue or Kittatinny Moun- 
tain, where it laps, located opposite Landisburg, in Tyrone Township. One 
of the most picturesque spots in the county. An Indian trail, later used as 
a bridle path, passes its base. 

Buck Ridge. A "breaking down" of Rising Mountain, in Toboyne Town- 

Big Knob. A mountain ridge north of Blain. 

Little Knob. Twin sister to Big Knob, north of Blain. 

"The Crossbar." A wooded ridge running from Big Knob, north of 
Blain, to the Tuscarora Mountain. 

Berry's Mountain and Buffalo Mountain. These two mountains are lo- 
cated in the northeast section of the county, are broken by water gaps by 
the Susquehanna at Mt. Patrick and Liverpool, are seven and eight miles 
long, respectively, and unite in a single elevated knob on the east bank of 
the Juniata River a mile above Newport, known as Round Top, which can 
be plainly seen from east of the Susquehanna. Both of them have per- 
fectly straight sharp crests, long gentle slopes towards the cove which they 
form, and outer terraces, that of Berry's facing south and that of Buffalo 
facing northwest. Unlike the sharp ellipse of Cove Mountain, that of 
Berry's Mountain is broken by a gap nearly to its base at its western end 
on the southern side, by a small stream extending into the Juniata. But a 
high divide behind the gap virtually closes the upper end of the cove. 
Berry's Mountain runs on through Dauphin County and returns as Peters' 
Mountain, then Cove Mountain. Buffalo Mountain also reappears on the 
east side of the Susquehanna under the name Mahantango Mountain, and 
along its crest runs the north county line of Dauphin to the northwest 
corner of Schuylkill County. Buffalo Mountain separates Buffalo Town- 
ship from Greenwood and Liverpool Townships. 

As the Dauphin County anthracite coal basin is enclosed at its west end 
by the Cove Mountain in Perry County, so is the Wiconiseo anthracite 
coal basin enclosed by Berry's and Buffalo Mountains in Perry County. 
The two coves resemble each other closely in shape, size and position. 
Within the cove formed by Buffalo and Berry Mountains is located Hun- 
ter's Valley, the northern half of Buffalo Township. Berry Mountain, 
it is said, was named after a family by the name of Berry which resided 
at its base, below Mt. Patrick, but as it bears the same name east of the 
Susquehanna it probably derived its name from the fact that immense 
quantities of berries have always grown along its sides. 

Cove Mountain. The Cove Mountain, lying between Duncannon and 
Marysville, is a sharply recurved ridge, one thousand feet higher than the 
water level of the water gap below, like the cut-off prow of a canoe- 
shaped basin— the Dauphin County anthracite coal basin, being the west 
end of a long-pointed ellipse, the east end of which is Carbon County, be- 
yond the Lehigh River. The Susquehanna River crosses it diagonally at 
the east, the northern crest being only five miles in length and the southern 


ten miles. The crest at the extreme west is known as "the horseshoe" to 
sportsmen and overlooks the fertile Sherman's Valley to the west. 

Conococheague Mountain. A beautiful mountain is the Conococheague. 
It forms a long, straight, even-crested ridge from Madison Township, 
where it starts, to its termination at Round Top, in Toboyne Township, 
without break or gap of any character. Over it pass two roads, one lead- 
ing north from New Germantown to Horse Valley and Juniata County, 
and the other west over the bend in the range to Concord, Franklin County. 
At its east end it is a perfect arch, but to the west it becomes a south- 
dipping range. The Indian word, Conococheague, is recorded as meaning 
"it is indeed a long way." 

lUtffalo Ridge. The name applied to the ridge south of the Little Buf- 
falo Creek. Also known as Furnace Hills. 

Furnace I /ills. See preceding paragraph. 

Bell's I /ill. The promontory ending of Mahanoy Ridge in Spring Town- 

Quaker Hill. An outlying hill of the Pisgah Ridge in Spring Township. 

Gallovi's Hill. In "Little Germany," John Faus (Foose), known as the 
"King of Germany" on account of his large land holdings, took up 300 
acres on June 12, 1794, with which he was assessed in 1820, the date of 
the county's birth, and on which he had erected a sawmill and a distillery. 
A tavern was kept on the old mansion farm until 1827. The sign of this 
tavern, was an iron ring suspended from an arm attached to a high post, 
so suggestive of a gallows that the place came to be known as "Gallows 

Welsh Hill. The point of the Blue Mountain separating Kennedy's Val- 
ley from Green Valley, in Tyrone Township. 

Pilot Knob. Pilot Knob is the highest spur of the Kittatinny or Blue 
Mountain, and is located not far from Landisburg. 

Middle Ridge. The ridge running west from Newport, through Oliver 
and Juniata Townships, once wooded, but now a fertile section of farm 

Crawley Hilt. A high hill in Spring Township, an outlying knoll of the 
Dick's Hill range, which derived its name from a man named Crawley, who, 
it is said, was murdered upon it long years ago for his money. His remains 
were buried near the road which crosses the hill. But a few rods from 
this road, on the south side of the hill, stood a very small stone school- 
house in the shadow of a thicket, and tradition tells of the teacher raising 
a window sash to get a rod without leaving the building, for it appears 
that at one time the rod was a necessary accessory to every schoolhouse. 
Tradition may be right, but the writer cannot conceive of any Perry 
County boy allowing them to remain so handy longer than twenty-four 
hours. A frame structure later took its place, but it was abandoned. Be- 
tween Crawley Hill and Mahanoy Hill nestles the famous settlement 
known as "Little Germany." 

Iron Ridge. The name once applied to the ridge just south of Crawley 
Hill, in Spring Township. 

Tiii': Kittatinny Mountain Gaps. 

Across the crest of the Kittatinny Mountain, where it drops, 
(if ten slightly, are a number of famous gaps or passes, some of 
which were the locations of old Indian trails and are mentioned in 
provincial and colonial records. Starting from the Susquehanna 
River these gaps in the order named are Lamb's, Miller's, Myer's, 
Croghan's (now called Sterrett's), Crane's, Sharon's, Long's, 


Waggoner's, and IVlcClure's. A concise description of each fol- 

Holt's Gap. A small gap in the mountain at ,1 poinl jusl wesl of MEai 
ville, little more than a great depression. 

L,amb's Gap. Crosses the mountain almost opposite what was known as 
I Liftman's mill, in Rye Township, now C,1envale. On the Cumberland side 
it is the boundary line between Hampden and Silver Spring Townships. 
Elevation, 1,018 feet. 

Miller's Gap. Crosses the mountain at a point a short distance south 
west of Keystone, the road coming out at Wertzville, Cumberland Count) 
Elevation, 1,080 feet. 

Mxcr's Gap. Almost directly south of Crier's Point. Crossed by a 1 1 

road, little better than a trail. 

Dean's Gap. The road from Perry County leading up to this gap, which 
lies almost two miles east of Sterrett's Gap, leaves a point known as "the 
narrows" and runs in a- southeastern direction; another road from the 
same point runs towards Sterrett's Gap, in a southwestern direction. There 
is a considerable farm on the mountaintop at this gap, where Dr. Dean 
lung resided, having a considerable medical practice in both Perry and 
Cumberland Counties. The road on the Cumberland side trended in the 
direction of Mechanicsburg. 

Croghan's or Sterrett's Gap. Of all the gaps across the Kittatinny tins 
one is the easiest for travel and the most noted historically. Through it 
leads the state highway from New Bloomfield to Carlisle. Across it ran 
the earliest Indian trail and in pioneer times the old Allegheny Path. 
Over it passed the great Indian chiefs, the early interpreters, the early 
traders and the pioneers with their meagre belongings and their first do- 
mestic animals. Through its then precipitous passes came those first early 
missionaries of Scotch-Irish Calvinism carrying to these inland forests 
the message of the Man of Galilee, and across its picturesque ravines to- 
day roll hundreds of motor cars on pleasure and business bent. From a 
point of greater elevation several hundred feet west can he seen, looking 
northward, the historic and picturesque Sherman's Valley, nestling be- 
n the mountains, one of the famous coves of Pennsylvania, and look- 
in- southward, the more extensive and productive Cumberland Valley in 
all its beauty. The elevation of Sterrett's Gap is 925 feet. As late as 
1877, according to Beach Nichols' Atlas of Perry, Juniata, and Mifflin 
Counties, there was a post office located there known as Sterrett's Gap. 
At that time there was also a store and tavern there. Authorities give 
the name of the first tavern keeper as a man namel Puller. When the 
county was created, in 1820, Daniel Gallatin was the tavern keeper. After 
the middle of the last century there was a new hostelry built, where came 
the well-to-do from Carlisle, Baltimore and other places, on leisure bent. 
There came happy throngs, and there were scenes of gayety by day and 
sounds of revelry by night, but with the growing popularity of the 
resorts and the easy methods of travel its fame as a resort passed and a 
struggling lone tavern remained. In fact, there was a road house there until 

very recent years, at times being a hostelry of g 1 reputation and again 

being a rendezvous for those of questionable reputation, its clientele often 
changing with the change of proprietors. This gap was originally known 
as Croghan's Gap, by reason of George Croghan's residing near. Croghan 
was prominent in provincial all aits. An early order of survey was taken 
out for the lands at this point by John Armstrong, who sold it to Nathan 
Andrews. It was returned to the land office June 21, 1788, in the name of 
Ralph Sterrett, who with his brothers John and James Sterrett, warranted 


408 acres along the crest of the mountain, extending over three miles east 
from the gap. Accordingly it came to be known as Sterrett's Gap and so 
it remains, though the Sterretts are gone long since. Descendants of the 
Sterretts sold the lands to William Ramsey, of Carlisle. In a mortgage 
dated June 26, 1830, the Ramsey lands in Rye Township included "850 
acres of land, two fulling mills, a woolen factory, three dwelling houses, 
a wagonmaker shop, stable, shed and part of tavern house and part of 
orchard at same place." (Part of the tavern and orchard were in Cum- 
berland County, the former being built upon the line.) By right of mort- 
gage James Buchanan, later President of the United States, became owner 
of a part of these lands in 1835 and was assessed with 250 acres and a 
fulling mill. 

^ The mountain near the gap slopes so gradually that the approach from 
Shermansdale and Fishing Creek is very gentle, and abundant springs of 
water from high levels are available at the very top. There, upon a small 
plateau, met four early highways from divergent points, which made it an 
early centre of trade. And thus, at the dawn of the past century, we find 
an early trading post. There were stores for exchange and sale and shops 
for repairs, a tavern where man and beast were fed and cared for, and 
there dwelt an early physician, Dr. Kaechline, until after a severe and in- 
tensely cold midwinter night his frozen body was found near the foot of 
the eastern slope, while a riderless horse at the gap stables gave the alarm, 
too late. Additional facts may be found in the chapters devoted to Trails, 
Roads and Highways, and Carroll Township. Something of George Cro- 
ghan's life also appears in the early chapters of this book. 

Crane's Gap. This gap crosses the mountain about three miles west of 
Sterrett's at an elevation of 1,300 feet. The road enters Cumberland 
County in North Middleton Township. At an early day it was but a foot- 
path, but in 1848 was made a public road, now long abandoned. 

Sharon's Gap. A small gap about a mile west of Crane's gap, called 
after the original warrantee of the lands. There was once a road there, 
but it too has been long since abandoned. 

Long's Gap. This gap is directly south from Falling Springs, where 
William Long, on February 3, 1794, warranted 400 acres of land. Its ele- 
vation is 1,390 feet. To the older generation it is known as the "Forty 
Shillings' Gap," tradition having it that a murder was once committed 
there for the purpose of robbery and that the culprit got but forty shil- 
lings. As our monetary system has had no shillings in circulation since 
our divorce from George III the murder was likely a provincial tragedy. 

Waggoner's Gap. Crosses the mountain south of Oak Grove Furnace 
or Bridgeport. It is mentioned in early provincial annals. The road from 
New Germantown, via Landisburg, leads through this gap, and was known 
as the Baltimore Pike in the days when teaming to Baltimore with farm 
produce was an industry. 

McClure's Gap. McClure's Gap crosses the mountain at Welsh Hill, 
southwest of Landisburg. There is really very little gap to the Perry 
County side from the hollow on the Cumberland side, formed by the folds 
in the mountain. It is crossed by a road built in 1821 to connect Landis- 
burg, then the temporary county seat, with Newville, Cumberland County. 
This gap is mentioned in provincial records as early as 1756. See chapter 
on "Trails and Highways." 

Doubling Gap. Probably named by reason of the doubling of the moun- 
tain here. In a number of early publications, one as late as June 11, 1829, 
however, it was called Dublin Gap, and the springs on the Cumberland 
side were advertised as "Dublin, Gap Springs" as late as 1800. It was 
first known as McFarlan's Gap, as James McFarlan had located about a 


thousand acres just below the gap. Court records bear out the fact thai 
it was once known as McParlan's, as in April, 1891, a petition to the Cum- 
berland County court asked for the laying out of a road from Thomas 
Barnes' sulphur spring in the gap, formerly known as McFarlan's Cap. to 
Carlisle. Doubling Gap figures in traditions of the first settlers and was a 
commanding pass from the Shosshone Indians on the south, to the fi 
Tuscaroras in the north, long before white settlers dared invade the sec- 
tion. During the Provincial-Indian wars, an Indian trail from the Sus 
quehanna, starting at the mouth of the Juniata, followed an almost direel 
course westward across the county territory, through Doubling Gap, thence 
to the mouth of Brandy Run on the Conodoguinet. Facing Doubling Gap 
from Cumberland Valley, the eye meets Round Knob, 1,400 feet above 
tidewater. On top of it is Flat Rock, one of the most noted lookouts in 
the whole range of mountains. From its vantage point the whole Cum- 
berland Valley lies before you, the South Mountain far below and the 
tortuous Conodoguinet wending its way eastward. During the period from 
1820 to 1846 the hostelry known as the Doubling Gap Springs Hotel was 
in its heyday, and to it came men of note and prominence from far-off 
points. With the coming of the railroads and the growth of seaside re- 
sorts its fame gradually dwindled until it is little known. 

Tuscarora Mountain Gaps. 

Unlike the Kittatinny Mountain, to the county's south, the Tus- 
carora Mountain, along the northern boundary, has few gaps, and 
only one of importance. The gaps are mentioned in the report of 
the survey of i860, which was for the purpose of locating the line 
between Perry and Juniata Counties. 

Waterford Gap. This is the largest gap crossing the Tuscarora Moun- 
tain and the one through which crossed that old-time trail, the Allegheny 
Path. Through it passed the red men on their incursions in and out of 
Perry County territory and the daring and intrepid fellows who followed 
them. Along this trail passed the trader, the early postrider, the circuit 
rider, the pioneer emigrant on his way to the valley of the Ohio, and 
through it to-day is a highway on which pass great touring cars of the 
modern world. In early annals it was known as Bigham's Gap, but is de- 
scribed here as Waterford Gap, as that is the official name placed upon it 
by the County Line Commission. It is also sometimes called the Water- 
ford Narrows. The residents of the east end of Horse Valley travel via 
this gap in order to trade at East Waterford, Juniata County, their nearest 
town. The public road traversing this gap extends from East Waterford 
through into Horse Valley and to New Germantown. 

Bigham's Gap. See Waterford Gap, immediately preceding. 

Bealetoum Narrows. Another gap or break in the Tuscarora Mountain 
is located southeast of Honey Grove, Juniata County, and is known as the 
Bealetown Narrows. These narrows permit easy access to and from the 
eastern portion of Liberty Valley, the road passing near the former site 
of the Mohler tannery, and thence eastward by Walsingham schoolhouse 
to Saville and Ickesburg. 

Winns' Gap. Winns' Gap is located approximately two and one-half 
miles east of the Waterford Gap. This gap is only a slight depression in 
the mountain, and according to local gossip was frequently used by the in- 
habitants living in the east end of Horse Valley for travel into Tuscarora 
Valley in Juniata County. Tins end of Horse Valley is sometimes called 
Kansas Valley. Only a trail or path crosses this gap. 



The county of Perry, in itself a part of two of the most beau- 
tiful valleys of Pennsylvania, the Susquehanna and Juniata, has 
within its borders a number of beautiful and picturesque valleys, 
many of them fertile and whose history dates back to almost the 
middle of the second century past, when the pioneers braved the 
untold dangers of the frontier to make their homes here. A brief 
description of each : 

The Susquehanna J 'alley. The long, broad and fertile drainage area of 
the Susquehanna River, extending from within New York State, through 
Pennsylvania to Maryland, the greater part of Perry County being drained 
into the Susquehanna via Sherman's Creek, which empties into it at Dun- 
cannon, and various other streams. Duncannon is located at the most 
western point of the Susquehanna, the river making a sharp turn to the 
southeast at that point. 

The Juniata Valley. The picturesque valley drained by the Juniata 
River, extending from the Allegheny Mountains to Duncannon, where the 
Juniata flows into the Susquehanna. Almost half of the county is drained 
by the Juniata. 

Sherman's I 'alley. Sherman's Valley comprises the larger part of west- 
ern Perry County, being drained by Sherman's Creek. It extends from 
west of New Germantown to Duncannon. For several decades it was at 
the very frontier of civilization. Across it first moved traffic to the west 
of the Alleghenies, when roads were yet unknown. 

Just how Sherman's Valley got its name will always remain a mystery. 
There is a tradition that a trader by that name was drowned while cross- 
ing Sherman's Creek, but nowhere is there record to substantiate it. How- 
ever, as early as 1750 both the creek and the valley are referred to by that 
name. The first person of that name to patent land was John Shearman, 
and the tract was the first one east of the Haas mill tract in what is now 
I 'nm Township. Here Andrew Berryhill took up 331 acres November 26, 
17(10, and it is named on the warrant as "Sherman's Valley." It was sold 
to Isaac Jones in 1773 and he transferred it to John Shearman, whose 
patent is dated November 24, 1781. While John Shearman, as stated, was 
the first person of that name to patent land, the valley had been named 
long before that and the first settler may have been only a squatter and 
not have patented land. In fact, when it is referred to as Sherman's or 
Shearman's Valley and creek as early as 1750 it was impossible to patent 
land, as the land office for these lands was not opened until February 3, 
1755. Egle's "Notes and Queries," page 454, says it was so named for the 
original settler, but gives no evidence to substantiate the fact, yet the 
writer is inclined to give credence to that statement, as it looks plausible. 
< )l actual substantiation, however, there is none. It is even likely that the 
original name was Sherman and that Shearman is a German corruption, 
as Shearman has the broad German sound. 

Page 454, Egle's Notes and Queries, says: "In going over the files of 
the Carlisle Gazette from 1787 to 1817 we find the original spelling in all 
references and in official advertisements— so named for one of the early 
settlers, Jacob Shearman." 

Horse ]' alley. Horse Valley lies between the Tuscarora and Conoco- 
cheague Mountains, in western Perry County, within the confines of To- 
boyne and Jackson Townships. It was so named because the farmers of 
Path Valley, Franklin County, of which it is an extension, used it as a 


pasture for their horses, before it had been settled. It was once known as 

McSwine's Valley. 

Little Illinois Valley. This is a small valley located in Toboyne Town 
ship. The eastern part is cultivated and the western part is wooded. On 
the north it is bounded by Rising Mountain and Buck Ridge, which is a 
continuation of this mountain. On the south is Amberson Ridge and 
Schultz Ridge, a continuation of Amberson Ridge. It is about seven miles 
long and a mile wide. Brown's Run drains it. The western end of this 
valley is locally known as Fowler Hollow. 

Henry's Valley. Henry's Valley is located in Toboyne and Jackson 
Townships, between Bower's Mountain and the Kittatinnj or Blue Moun- 
tain. It is over ten miles long and merges into Sheaffer's Valley. It was 
named after John Henry, an early settler, who moved to Ohio. It is 
watered by Laurel Run. 

Sheaffer's Valley. Sheaffer's Valley is located in Madison and Tyrone 
Townships, between Bower's Mountain and the Kittatinny or Blue Moun- 
tain, and is in reality a continuation of Henry's Valley. It is about six 
miles long and is watered by Laurel Run, in this section sometimes called 
Patterson's Run. In earlier years there, was a preaching appointment in 
this valley, and as so many families named Sheaffer resided in the valley 
the itinerant missionary, in announcing his services referred to it as Sheaf- 
fer's Valley, and the name stuck. 

Kennedy's Valley. Kennedy's Valley is located in Tyrone Township, in 
the cove formed by the folds of the Kittatinny or Blue Mountain, the 
broad part lying close to Landisburg. Called after the Kennedys, early 

Green's Valley. Green's Valley is also located in Tyrone Township, in 
the small cove formed by a fold of the Blue Mountain. 

Liberty J 'alley. Liberty Valley lies east of the watershed which runs 
from the Conococheague to the Tuscarora Mountain, and between these 
mountains in Madison Township. 

Raccoon J 'alley. The valley lying between the Tuscarora Mountain and 
Raccoon Ridge in Tuscarora Township. Sometimes termed the Tuscarora 
Valley. It is watered by Raccoon Creek, eleven miles in length. 
Tuscarora J 'alley. See Raccoon Valley, immediately preceding. 
Mahanoy Valley. The valley in Miller Township located between 
Mahanoy Ridge and Dick's Hill. 

Fishing Creek Valley. This valley comprises the most o\ Rye Town- 
ship and lies between the Blue Mountain and the Cove Mountain. 

Buffalo }' alley. The name given in early provincial papers to the terri- 
tory drained by Buffalo Creek, which rises in Liberty Valley, Madison 
Township, and flows into the Juniata above Newport. 

Pfouts Valley. The limestone valley which extends from the Juniata 
River to the Susquehanna River and lies between Wildcat Ridge and Tur- 
key Hills, or the Juniata County line. One of the earliest points settled 
after the opening of the land office. 

Buclnvheat Valley. The valley located between Raccoon Ridge and 
Hominy Ridge, extending west from the Juniata as far as Eshcol. 

Big Buffalo Valley. The local name applied to the territory between 
Hominy Ridge and Middle Ridge. 

Little Buffalo Valley. Located between Middle Ridge and Buffalo 
Ridge, sometimes called Furnace Hills. 

Pleasant Valley. A small valley lying south of Mannsville, its location 
'being between Furnace Hills and Limestone Ridge. 

Perry Valley. Formerly known as Wildcat Valley. It is located in 


Greenwood and Liverpool Townships, between Wildcat Ridge and Buffalo 

Wildcat Valley. See Perry Valley, immediately preceding. 

Hunter's J "alley. Hunter's Valley is a cove formed by the Buffalo and 
Berry Mountain joining at the west, it lying between the two and wholly 
within Buffalo Township. Named after the many persons of that name 
who resided there, James Hunter being the original one. Isaiah Hunter, 
long afterwards an undertaker at Millerstown, was a grandson. 

Buck's J 'alley. Early known as Brush Valley. It lies between Berry 
Mountain and Half Fall Mountain, in Buffalo Township, extending through 
Howe to Newport on the Juniata River. Its eastern end joins the Sus- 
quehanna River. 

Brush Valley. See Buck's Valley, immediately preceding. 

"Buck Hollow." Located in Toboyne Township, and spoken of by Clay- 
pole, the geologist, as "the valley without a name." 

Fishing Rod J'alley. According to an old map, located in Liverpool 
Township, south of the wooded ridge, separating it from Susquehanna 
Township, Juniata County. 

The Cove. The Cove is a geological peculiarity. Professor Claypole 
says its physical features are entirely due to the presence and direction of 
the Pocono Sandstone Mountain, which crosses the Susquehanna River at 
Duncannon under the name of Peters,' or Fourth Mountain, rims to the 
southwest, then curves around, and, turning eastward at the horseshoe re- 
turns to the Susquehanna River, which it crosses above Marysville. The 
Cove is considered the western extremity of the southern angle of the 
great Pottsville coal basin. It is located in Penn Township. 

Limestone J'alley. Located between Limestone Ridge and Mahanoy 
Ridge, starting east of New Bloomfield and running west until it merges 
into Sherman's Valley near Green Park. 

Sandy Hollow. Sandy Hollow is located in Carroll Township. It ex- 
tends from the township's western boundary in a northeasterly direction, 
for three miles. It is really a continuation of Sherman's Valley, as Sher- 
man's Creek, after running close to the base of Pisgah Mountain for sev- 
eral miles, turns sharply to the right, while the valley continues ahead. 

Features of Distinction. 

The Perry County territory belongs to one of the more impor- 
tant drainage systems of the world. The Susquehanna River, 
north of the Maryland line, including its tributaries, the \\ esl 
Branch and the Juniata River, drains a territory comprising 21,006 
square miles, according to a statement of the Forestry Department 
of the State of Pennsylvania. Of this immense territory the Wesl 
Branch drains 6,820 square miles; the North Branch, 5.328; the 
Susquehanna, from Sunbury to its junction with the Juniata at 
Duncannon, 1,552; from Duncannon to the Maryland line, 3,895, 
and the Juniata, 3,411. 

As the Christmas season comes around with its pleasing mem- 
ories and happy greetings, with its gay decorations and beautiful 
holly wreaths everywhere in evidence, being shipped from south- 
ern climes, few probably know that holly grows as far north and 
actually within the limits of Perry County; yet Prof. H. Justin 
Roddy, of the Millersville State Normal School, in his geological 


investigations has found it growing in Greenwood township, 1 
the old home of former superintendent of schools, the late Silas 

On the old Wesley Soule farm in Centre Township, nol Ear 
from New Bloomfield, there grows one of the most rare plants to 
he found in America, known as the "box huckleberry." A man 
named Miehaux and his son from France, came to this country 
over a century ago to make botanical discoveries. They were ex- 
perts in their line and probably discovered and named more plants 
in America than any others. They described minutely various 
plants that were later found to be extinct in the districts named 
and botanists then thought they had been mistaken. Anion- these 
plants was named the box huckleberry, which had been discovered 
in the mountains of Virginia, which form a part of the same sys- 
tem as do the Perry County mountains. None have been found 
there since, and their discovery was supposed to have been a mis- 
take or they had become extinct. About 1875 Spencer F. Baird, 
who later became president of the Smithsonian Institute at Wash- 
ington, D. C, while making investigations in Pennsylvania, dis- 
covered the same plant covering a considerable area (about eight 
acres) on the Soule farm. 

While the species has been found extinct in Virginia, there is 
one other small plot of it in the state of Delaware, on the banks 
of the Indian River, near Millsboro. Prof. E. W. Claypole, the 
geologist, speaks thus of it: "It appears to be a lingering relic of 
the ancient flora of the county ; maintaining itself on the sterile 
hillside of Chemung shale, but liable to be destroyed by cultiva- 
tion at any time. It is exceeding plentiful, forming a perfect mat 
over much of the ground, but its limits are sharply defined without 
apparent cause." This farm, as well as the Andrew Comp farm 
and others, was warranted by Robert McClay on March 22, 1793, 
its extent being 436 acres. 

During 1920, another colony of this famous plant, said to be the 
oldest living thing on earth, was discovered within the borders of 
Perry County. It is located on the lands of John Doyle, in Watts 
Township, not far from the Juniata River, opposite Losh's Run Sta- 
tion, on the Pennsylvania Railroad. The discovery was made by Mr. 
H. A. Ward, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, under peculiar circum- 
stances. Near the colony there is a famous fossil rock, which has 
been visited by geologists of note from many states. Mr. Ward 
had accompanied a party of geologists there, they being under the 
leadership of Dr. Benjamin L. Miller, of Princeton University. 
Being more interested in plants than fossils, Mr. Miller strayed 
through the ravines of the Half Falls Hills, and in a short time 
discovered the mass of low shrubbery with bright, shining leaves, 
being uniformly about ten inches high. He recognized it as the 


rare box huckleberry (Gaylussacia brachycera), and upon sending 

specimens to such authorities as Dr. Edgar T. Wherry, of the U. 
S. Bureau of Chemistry ; Dr. N. L. Britten, director-in-chief of 
the New York Botanical Gardens, and Dr. J. P. Bill, a Harvard 
instructor, found that he was correct, and that he had discovered 
that which botanists had been seeking for over fifty years. The 
main colony occupies the northern slope of a ridge for at least a 
mile, and covers about two hundred feet in width. It is located 
on the same chain of ridges of Chemung soil as is the colonv at 
the old Soule property, the two being less than a dozen miles apart. 
Mr. Ward has since discovered three additional colonies close by. 
It does not grow from seed, but spreads from the roots, and does 
not cross streams. 

Located in Spring Township are the Warm Springs, the tract 
of land on which they are located being warranted by Solomon 
I >entler on March 21, 1793. James Kennedy, who was the owner 
in 1830, erected bath houses there. John Hippie, who had been 
sheriff of the county from 1826 to 1820. leased the property in 
1830 from Kennedy for a ten-year period and erected a building 
40x45 feet in size, and other additional bath houses, and in 1831 
opened the place as a regular health resort, entertaining those who 
during previous years had lodged in the surrounding farmhouses. 
In 1838 Peter Updegraffe, by marriage connected with the owner- 
ship, was in charge, employing his unoccupied time at farming and 
conducting a pottery which he had erected. On August 8, T849, 
H. H. Etter purchased the property, and in 1850 again opened the 
house to the public. He built a seventy-five-foot extension to the 
hotel. The property passed to R. M. Henderson and John Hays, 
of Carlisle, who leased it to various parties until April 4, 1865, 
when it was destroyed by fire. Then, on April tt, 1866, the Perry 
Warm Springs Hotel Company was incorporated by A. L. Spon- 
sler, Robert M. Henderson, John Greason, Jacob Rhecm, John 
Hays, William T. Dewalt, and John D. Crea (probably Creigh), 
with a capital stock of $10,000. The resort was again opened, but 
never attained its former popularity, as the seashore and other 
resorts which were reached by railroads were then being developed. 
As late as 1877 lists of guests appeared in the county pres^. For 
many years it has not been open as a resort. The property later 
came into the possession of Abram Bower, and in TQ19 it was pur- 
chased by II. B. Rhinesmith, of New Bloomfield, from the Bower 

Sulphur springs abound at various places in Perry Count v. 
notably in Wheat field, Juniata, and Toboyne Townships. 

According to Prof. E. W. Claypole, an authority on geology, of 
the Second State Geological Survey, the earliest fish fossils and the 


earliest vertebrates found in any part of the world wen- discov- 
ered in Perry County, aboul [883, in the Cat skill rock formation. 
He describes these little prehistoric (ish as not more than -dx 
inches in length, with thin shields protecting their vital organs. 
lie says: "In every link the chain of argument is complete, and 
Perry County now has the honor of contributing to geolog) the 
oldest indisputable vertebrate animals which the world has yet 
seen." Further on in his report, he says: 

"It is a long, long" vista through which we look hack, by the help of 
geology's telescope, to see these tiny ancestors of our fishes sporting in the 
Silurian seas. The Tertiary and Secondary rocks abound with fish. Even 
in our coal measures we find numerous species. The Devonian seas, as 
I have already mentioned, swarmed with great armor-clad monsters, some 
of which I have found in Perry County. These lived millions of years 
ago, and few can realize what a million means. But earlier than all these 
swam the little hard-shelled Pennsylvania Palaeaspis, as I have called it, 
in the seas of long ago, before Tuscarora and the Blue Mountains had 
raised their heads above the waters. To these queer, antiquated forms 
we must look as the ancestors of some at least of our existing fish, devel- 
oped by the slow process of nature, by change of environment, by compe- 
tition in the struggle for existence, and by the inexorable law of the sur- 
vival of the fittest. The condition of life must then have varied rapidly, 
for these and every nearly allied form became extinct in Mid-Devouian 
days ; and when our coal measures were laid down they were already as 
much out of date and as nearly forgotten as are the armor-clad knights 
of the Middle Ages at the present time. But the mud of the sea bottom 
received their carcasses, buried them carefully, and has ever since faith- 
fully preserved them, if not perfect, yet in a condition capable of being 
recognized. And to the geologist that same sea bottom, long since dried 
and turned to stone, now returns these precious remains. The day of their 
resurrection has come, and the hammer has brought to light from the rocks 
of Perry County the identical bones entombed, perhaps, twenty million 
years ago, when its wearer turned on its back, gave up the ghost and sank 
to the bottom." 

Prof. Gilbert Wan Ingen, of the Geological Department of 
Princeton University, assisted by 11. Justin Roddy, has been mak- 
ing geological investigations throughout Perry County in recent 
years, and the following extract from a personal letter from him 
in Kj2i is self-explanatory: 

Referring to your inquiry regarding the salina beds of Perry County. 
There is only one item that is worthy of mention in a county history, 
namely, that the salina beds of Perry County contain remains of the most 
primitive types of fish known in North America. These were discovered 
by E. W. Claypole, who described them about 1880, in the vicinity of New 
Bloomfield, and have since been found by me at a certain horizon in the 
salina group at several different localities scattered throughout the county. 

Perry County has practically no minerals. Coal has been found 
in small quantities on Cove Mountain and on Perry's Mountain in 
what is known as Pocono sandstone formation, but not in suffi- 
cient quantities to pay for mining and marketing. 


There have been mines in years past of Clinton fossil ore at 
Tuscarora Mountain, Millerstown; of Marcellus iron ore in small 
basins of Oriskany sandstone in Limestone Ridge at a place 
locally known as "Ore Bank Hill," south of Newport, in Miller 
Township; on Iron Ridge, south and west of the old Perry Fur- 
nace ; on Mahanoy Ridge, north and west of New Bloomfield ; 
at Bell's Hill, north and west of "Little Germany"; on Pisgah 
Mountain, near Oak Grove Furnace; at old Juniata Furnace, west 
of Newport ; at Girty's Notch, on the Susquehanna, and at various 
points along the south side of Mahanoy, Crawley's and Dick's 
Hills, and back from the Susquehanna River at Marysville. 

The only mineral of value ever mined to any considerable ex- 
tent was iron ore, and that was principally in the vicinity of Mil- 
lerstown. Ore was first discovered on lands of Abram Addams, 
by Peter Wertz, in small quantities. Later the farm descended to 
Mr. Adams' daughter, Mrs. McDonald, and George Maus began 
actual operations. They were not worked extensively until 1867, 
when Beaver, Marsh & Co. operated them and shipped the ore by 
boat to their furnace at Winfield, Union County. In 1877 James 
Rounsley, an experienced miner, bought the mines and shipped 
much ore to that firm as long as their furnace was in operation, or 
until 1892. They had built the furnace in 1853. The last ore 
shipped from these mines was in 1903, by Mr. Rounsley. There 
was another mine located near Millerstown, on the west side of 
the river. James Lannigan began operations there in 1868 and 
continued until 1875. James Rounsley purchased these mines also 
in 1879 and continued their operation until 1901, his continuous 
mining lasting for twenty-six years. About 1868 the Reading 
[nm Company operated mines on the Thomas P. Cochran farm, 
near Millerstown, but did not operate regularly. The Duncannoir 
hen Company opened the mines on the Perry Kremer farm, on 
the west side of the river, near Millerstown, in 1868, and operated 
for about three years. The Reading Company also opened mines 
on the Jonathan Black farm about 1868 and mined until 1877. 
Other marts to which this ore was shipped was Lochiel, Reading, 
and Harrisburg. When the Perry Furnace was in operation the 
mines on the Dum farm in "Little Germany," Spring Township, 
employed twelve men. With the blowing out of the charcoal fur- 
naces throughout Perry County, about the middle of the last cen- 
tury, these smaller operations ceased. The substitution of coal 
and coke for charcoal in the iron industry spelled their end, as coal 
was too far away and the product insufficient to pay. 

An effort to mine coal in Berry Mountain, near Mt. Patrick, 
was made by Baltimore capitalists, the McDonald-Downing Co., 
around the period of the Sectional War. A drift of three hundred 
feet was made and at that point it was claimed a three-foot vein 


of coal was discovered, said to be loo small to operate upon a 
paying basis. The mouth of the drift is plainly to be seen. An- 
other statement is that the firm offered a Mr. Matchett, a pros 
pector, $10,000 for a three-foot vein. 

An old leg-end is that the Indians once came to a blacksmith 
shop on what is now the James R. Showaker place, on Shaffer 
Run, in Toboyne Township, and wanted a horse shod, but were in- 
formed by the smith that he had no coal, whereupon they left and 
in a short time returned with the necessary coal. As coal was not 
then yet in use the story must be only a legend . Coal was dis- 
covered on the Cove Mountain twenty-five years ago, but not in 
sufficient quantities. The Perry Forester of May 24, 1827, said 
"a wry extensive bed of stone coal has been discovered near the 
mouth of Sherman's Creek, on land belonging to Stephen Dun- 
can." In 1857 the county press reported "a large vein of coal" 
discovered on the land of D. Lupfer, one and a half miles west 
of New Bloomfield. A small vein was once discovered in "Little 
Germany," Spring Township, but it was only three inches thick, 
soft and easily crumbled. 

The great length of the zigzag beds of Lower Heidelberg lime- 
stone, aggregating 150 miles, which underlie the surface, makes the 
burning and marketing of lime an industry worth while, at the 
same time supplying a fertilizer for the soil. Many of these lime 
kilns date back to the time of the pioneer. 

While Perry County is practically destitute of minerals, yet 
there have been several cases of great excitement over their re- 
ported discovery. Immediately after the close of the Sectional 
War, in 1865. it was reported that oil had been discovered in Sa- 
ville Township and two companies were formed for development 
of the industry. The Snyder Spring Oil Company, with a capital 
of $50,000, the shares being one dollar each, was formed and 
leased the farms then owned by Godfrey Burket and William Sny- 
der. The Coller Oil Company leased the lands at the headwaters 
of Buffalo Creek. It had a capital of $100,000, the shares being 
of a par value of five dollars. Of course, oil was never found. 
During 1920 another company was organized, principally by per- 
sons from outside the county, to prospect for oil in IYrr\ and 
Cumberland Counties. They arc now sinking their first well near 

Crossing Perry County to the smith is a remarkable geological 
trap-dyke formation known as [ronstone Ridge. Nine miles west 
of Marysville it makes a watershed across Rye Township and its 
outcroppings continue clear across Cumberland County .and are 
visible in York County, it is probably two hundred feet wide. 
Three others cross Rye and Penn Townships. Of these a much 
smaller one than the one described runs about five hundred yards 


east. Two others cross the Cove slightly northeast, one of which, 
passing Duncannon, runs across Wheatfield and Watts Townships. 
They cut mountains and valleys at right angles. Local tradition 
would have this most prominent trap-dyke, crossing Rye Town- 
ship, as extending clear south to Tennessee, but Clavpole, the geolo- 
gist, whose position as an authority has never been questioned, has 
it end in York County. Samuel J. Tritt, for twenty years county 
surveyor of Cumberland County, who did much surveying in Perry 
County, also recognized it as first becoming conspicuous in Rye 
Township, and as extending across Cumberland to the Susque- 
hanna River in York County. Clavpole tells us: 

"Trap-dykes are ancient cracks in the earth, filled from below 
by lava, which has hardened into rock. They must be of great 
depth, for they can be traced along the present surface of the 
earth for a great distance. The trap-dyke described by Dr. Frazer, 
in his report on Lancaster County, runs in a straight line (N. R.) 
forty miles. Many others exist in Adams, York, Lancaster, 
Dauphin. Lebanon, Berks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and 
Bucks Counties, and in middle and northern New Jersey, southern 
New York, and New England. 

"The most remarkable of them all starts in the South Moun- 
tains, and runs in a nearly straight line across Cumberland County 
(between Mechanicsburg and Carlisle), crossing the Blue Moun- 
tain two miles east of Sterrett's Gap." This is the "Ironstone 
Ridge" spoken of above. 

Claypole further says: "At the earliest date to which geology 
can point back with tolerable certainty in the history of what is 
now Perry County, the interior of the North American continent 
was an ocean of unknown extent into which was borne the sand 
and mud of neighboring lands, swept down by the rivers of that 
distant age to make the beds of rock which to-day compose the 
solid land of the United States. The history of this process is 
written in the rocks." 

At another place the noted geologist, speaking of an unusual 
feature, says: "The volcanic rocks of Perry County may seem 
strange, but it has long been known that in the southeast of the 
county occur some rocks of very peculiar nature, totally different 
from any others. They cut across the line of the bedded rocks 
quite regardless of their direction. They are very heavy, intensely 
lough, and highly charged with iron. They are in effect what the 
geologist calls 'trap-rocks,' what the miner calls 'elvans.' They are 
composed of material that has been fused, and forced in a fused 
condition into and between the other rocks, filling up cracks and 
cavities and baking and hardening by its heat and strata through 
which it flowed. When cooled the fluid matter became hard, and 
is now known as intrusive or trap-rock." 


WHEN Christopher Columbus, in October, [492, discovered 
the Western Continent, which was the preliminary act in 
the development of this great nation, the lands which now 
comprise the county of Perry— in Pennsylvania— were, according 
to all traditions, inhabited by the swarthy, copper-colored race. 
from that day to be generally spoken of as Indians, on account 
of the discoverer's mistaken idea that he had crossed the world 
to the eastern shores of India. 

When the first settlements were made in Pennsylvania by the 
Dutch (not to he misconstrued as referring to the Germans) in 
[623, when it was later occupied by the Swedes, the Dutch again, 
the English, and eventually in 1682 by William Penn and the 
Quakers, the outlying sections of which Perry was naturally a part, 
were evidently overrun by these wild tribes, although almost two 
hundred years had elapsed since the discovery of America. 

Then for another period of a half century little is known, ex- 
cept that which comes to us through the misty veil of years and 
which for want of a better name is known as tradition. About 
that time, however, the outlying settlements had pushed west to 
the Susquehanna, and an occasional manuscript, a diary, a letter 
or a record of one kind or another has been found and preserved, 
so that one can get a glimpse into the lives of the Indians and the 
hardy pioneers on the lands which were later to become the county 
of Perry. 

If any other nationality than the English under Penn had set- 
tled in Pennsylvania, Perry County would probably not have ad- 
vanced nearly as rapidly as it did. as the English-speaking people 
were then as now, the advance agents of civilization. It is signifi- 
cant that those old English charters gave title to die land straight 

*The chapters of this book relating to the Indians have been passed upon 
by Dr. George P. Donehoo, of Coudersport, Pennsylvania, noted authority 
upon Indian History and secretary of the Pennsylvania Historical Com- 
mission, and later, November, 1921, appointed State Librarian of Pennsyl- 
vania, by Governor Sproul. 

Common or popular usage adds the "s" to Indian names, thus Dela- 
wares, Tuscaroras, although the names Delaware, Tuscarora, etc., as ap- 
plied to Indian tribes, is already plural, being applied to a tribe, according 
to scientific writers. Not belonging to the latter class of writers it has 
been thought best to add the "s" in this book, as do even many noted 



across the continent from ocean to ocean. The following para- 
graph from George Sydney Fisher's "The Making of Pennsylva- 
nia," well illustrates this : 

"In nothing is the difference in nationality so distinctly shown. 
The Dutchman builds trading posts and lies in his ship off shore 
to collect the furs. The gentle Swede settles on the soft, rich 
meadow lands, and his cattle wax fat and his barns are full of hay. 
The Frenchman enters the forest, sympathizes with its inhabitants, 
and turns half savage to please them. All alike bow before the 
wilderness and accept it as a fact. But the Englishman destroys 
it. He grasped at the continent from the beginning, and but for 
him the oak and the pine would have triumphed and the prairies 
still be in possession of the Indian and the buffalo." No lands in 
the world advance and prosper as do those of the English-speaking 
nations, and be it remembered that among the English-speaking- 
people the American is always in the van. 

One of the earliest records of Indian affairs in Pennsylvania is 
the "Jesuit Relations of 1659," which tells of a tradition of a ten 
years' war between the Mohawks and the Pennsylvania Indians, 
in which the latter almost exterminated the Mohawks. This was 
before either could obtain firearms. To .Captain John Smith, of 
Virginia, posterity is indebted for the very first description, by a 
white man, of the Indians of the interior of Pennsylvania. Pow- 
hatan had told him of a mighty nation which dwelt here which 
"did eat men." Smith says: "Many kingdoms he described to me 
to the head of the bay, which seemed to be a mighty river, issuing 
from mighty mountains betwixt two seas." On the east of the 
bay Smith found an Indian who understood the language of Pow- 
hatan, and he was dispatched up the river to bring down some 
of them. In a few days sixty of these "gyant-like people" ap- 
peared. Smith called all the country Virginia, and from a descrip- 
tion by the Indians he drew a map. which is the oldest map of 
any inland parts of Pennsylvania. He locates five Indian towns, 
the second lowest down being designated "Attaock," a branch 
which corresponds to the Juniata. This was probably the Indian 
village later known as Juniata, on Duncan's Island, further de- 
scribed in the chapter devoted to that island. He described the 
river as "cometh three or four days from the head of the bay." 
These Indians were supposed to be of the Andaste tribes, using 
dialects of the throat-speaking Iroquois. Smith's description tells 
of their "hellish voice, sounding from them as a voice in a vault." 
The Iroquois used no lip sounds, but spoke from the throat with 
an open mouth. Along the shores of the bay Smith found the 
natives all fearful of the "great-water men," who principally dwelt 
along the Potomac and the Susquehanna and "had so many boats 
and so many men that they made war with all the world." Smith 



met seven canoeloads of these men at the head "i the bay, bu1 
failed to understand a word spoken. Karly Virginia historians 
presumed them to be of the Mohawk tribe, the ancestors of the 
Five Nations, which conclusion is a matter of question and prob- 
ably wrong. 

The first white man to enter what is now the state of Pennsyl- 
vania was Etienne Brule, a Frenchman associated with Champlain, 
who was making explorations in Canada even before the English 
had entered Virginia. Brule went southward through New York 
to obtain aid from a body of Susquehannocks in an attack against 

"A mighty River, Issuing From Mighty Mountains, Betwixt Two Seas." 
■ — Capt. John Smith. (See page 38.) 

a stronghold of the Iroquois. Failing to find Champlain, he re- 
mained in northern Pennsylvania through the winter. Tart oi 
the time he spent in making expeditions to the south. He left a 
description of the Susquehanna River, which he made down to the 
bay. He accordingly must have crossed Pennsylvania. In that 
case he traveled through it at least a century before any other 
white man. 

A paper map found at the Hague in 1841 illustrates the travels 
of three Dutch settlers from Albany in i6rq, who came down the 
Susquehanna and crossed to the Lehigh and the Delaware, being 
captured by the Minequas. Their map locates a tribe called 
"Iottecas," west of the Susquehanna, in the vicinity of the Juniata 
River. In 1655 a man named Visscher published a map, in Am- 


sterdam, of New Netherlands, in which he almost accurately places 
the Susquehanna, but without any West Branch or Juniata. Dur- 
ing the next fifty years about fifteen maps appeared, all having 
practically the same river outline. On all of them just where the 
Juniata belongs, there is the name of a tribe called "Onojutta 
Haga," the first part of the name meaning a projecting stone, and 
the "Haga" being the Mohawk word for people or tribe. They 
were a superior race and lived largely by the cultivation of the soil. 

When the Dutch began selling firearms to the Iroquois, or Five 
Nations, about 1640, they started a military conquest which ex- 
tended as far west as the Mississippi. Among those destroyed or 
subdued and incorporated into their own tribes were the Andaste 
tribes in Pennsylvania, which among others included the "Standing 
Stone" Indians on the Juniata. By 1676 all were exterminated. 
The Iroquois then claimed all the lands of the Susquehanna and 
its branches, selling to William Penn and his heirs at different 
times what they had gained by conquest. While negotiating for 
the sale of lands as early as 16S4 the Iroquois spoke of the entire 
region as "the Susquehanna River, which we won with the sword." 
In 1736 Thomas Penn, then governor, acknowledged their right 
by these words: "The lands on Susquehanna, we believe, belong 
to the Six Nations by the conquest of the Indian tribes on that 

The entire region, which of course included what is now Perry 
County, was then a vast deserted space until such time as the Tus- 
caroras were allowed to settle there. The Delaware's and Shaw- 
nees later were allowed to settle, the Delawares coming in between 
1720 and 1730. During this period not even a trader or pioneer 
had ventured there and through this veil of obscurity comes no 
record whatsoever of this time. However, the tribal records of 
the Hurons and the Iroquois tell of vast numbers of prisoners 
being brought to their New York towns from the South, as many 
as six hundred at a time, and the inference is that the tribes in- 
habiting this section were among the captives. 

The Tuscaroras had been defeated and driven from their former 
abode, and they claimed that the colonists were selling their chil- 
dren into slavery. About 17 13 or 1714, they came from the South, 
and settled, with the consent of the Five Nations, "on the Juniata, 
in a secluded interior, not far from the Susquehanna River." At 
a conference with Governor Hunter, of New York, September 20, 
1714, a Chief of the Iroquois, said, "We acquaint you that the 
Tuscarora Indians are come to shelter themselves among the Five 

The great path or trail to the southwest was known as the "Tus- 
carora Path," when the first traders came, and this tribe's principal 
settlements were likely responsible for that name, as they were 


located in Tuscarora Valley, now in [uniata County; in I'atli Val- 
ley, now in Franklin County, and in what is now Perry County, 
principally in Raccoon Valley. These lands head not been occupied 
for from a half to three quarters of a century, or since the con- 
quesl by the Five Nations. According to Samuel G. Drake, an 
Indian antiquarian, "the Tuscaroras from Carolina joined them 
(the Five Nations) about 1712, but were not formally admitted 
into the confederacy until about ten years after that ; this gained 
them the name of the Six Nations." They were sometimes known 
as Mingoes. In all the Albany conferences dated from 1714 to 
1722 in which the members of the Five Nations participated the 
Tuscaroras are not mentioned. After this probationary period 
of probably ten years on the Juniata, where most of them lived, 
they were formally assigned a portion of the Oneida territory and 
had their council-house east of Syracuse. New York. However, 
all the Tuscaroras did not migrate to New York, some choosing 
to remain on the Juniata. In 1730 there is record of "three Tus- 
karorows missing at Pechston" (Paxtang), now Harrisburg. 
Even to the time of the Albany purchase of the lands north of the 
Kittatinny or Blue Mountain, in 1754, some of the tribe still in- 
habited the district. In a letter from John O'Neal to the governor 
dated at Carlisle. May 2y, 1753, is the statement : "A large number 
of Delawares, Shawnees and Tuscaroras continue in this vicinity 
— the greater number having gone to the West." As early as 1725 
the Conestogas and the Shawnees had begun working their way 
westward along the Juniata and the West Branch of the Sus- 

Among the reports and records of Fort Duquesne was found 
the following, dated September 15, 1756: 

"Two hundred Indians and French left Fort Duquesne to set 
fire to four hundred houses in a part of Pennsylvania. That prov- 
ince has suffered but little in consequence of the intrigues of the 
Five Nations with Taskarosins, a tribe on the lands of that prov- 
ince, and in alliance with the Five Nations. But now they have 
declared that they will assist their brethren, the Delawares. and 
Chouanons (Shawnees), and consequently several have sided 
with them, so that the above province will be laid waste the same 
as Virginia and Carolina." According to that, some were still 
there in 1756. 

About 1730 some Scoth-Irish, who had crossed the Susque- 
hanna, settled in what was then termed the "Kittochtinny or North 
Valley, near Falling Springs." This was the Cumberland Valley 
of the present, and the place called Falling Springs was not the 
settlement by that name in Perry County, but was where the pres- 
ent town of Chambersburg stands. This is the first settlement 


west of the Susquehanna of which there is record. The woods 
were then full of Indians. 

As George Croghan, the interpreter, who knew the languages 
of the Shawnees and the Delawares, located in Cumberland 
County in 1742, the presence of those tribes here is indicated. 
The Delawares were known among themselves as the Leni Lenape 
tribe. According to their tradition they were one of two great 
peoples who inhabited the entire country, the other being the 

As the names Juniata and Oneida are derived from the same 
source the contention is advanced that the Oneidas may have in- 
habited the Juniata Valley, but according to authorities there is 
nowhere any evidence to bear out that fact. 

An Indian trail led westward along the Susquehanna and Juni- 
ata Rivers, crossing the former near what is now Clark's Ferry, 
at Duncannon; another led over the Kittatinny or Blue Moun- 
tain at what was then Croghan's (now Sterrett's) Gap, and a third 
led over the same mountain at McClure's Gap, the two latter cross- 
ing the Tuscarora Mountain. That via Sterrett's Gap was known 
as "the Allegheny Path," the first great highway to the West. 
The first white men to enter Perry County territory came over 
these routes, and the men were known as traders, whose vocation 
necessitated their going westward as far as the Ohio. There are 
evidences that these men were traders even before there is record 
of it. There are some recorded statements pertaining to their 
operations, but traders then, as now, do not belong to the class 
which reduce events to writing. 

One of them was George Croghan, whose name was given to 
Sterrett's Gap. Croghan first lived in what was later to become 
Cumberland County, about five miles from Harris' Ferry (now 
Harrisburg), and afterwards on the mountain at the Gap, near 
where the old tavern or road-house stood later. Still later he took 
up his residence at Aughwick, near Mount Union, in Huntingdon 
County. As early as 1747 he is mentioned as a "considerable 
trader." He was well acquainted with the Indian country and 
with the paths and trails. He continually used the one via the 
Kittatinny and Tuscarora Mountains, from which one would infer 
that it was at least preferable to the others. He served the pro- 
vincial government by convoying expeditions westward for them. 
He was associated much with Conrad Weiser, the Indian inter- 
preter, and of them there is more further on in this book. 

The scope of this book is not wide enough to go into all the 
details of the often fraudulent, crafty and deceptive actions of 
Mime of the pioneers, traders and officials in dealing with the In- 
dians, which in a general way might be said to have been largely 
responsible for much of the heart-rending suffering of the white 


settlers and many of the sickening massacres perpetrated upon 
them. With every setting of the sun the aborigines saw their 
domain dwindling before the oncoming tide of white pioneers, 
their favorite hunting grounds encroached upon and the very 
streams from which came much of their subsistence marred by 
the building of mill dams. Constantly impressed with such con- 
ditions, but a spark was often needed to light the flame of resent- 
ment which left death and destruction in its wake. 

Of Our Indian Inhabitants. 

The reader is familiar with the life and habits of the American 
Indian ; and from what can be learned in reference to the tribes 
which dwelt on what is now Perry County soil, they were the exact 
counterpart of the average member of that race in industry, cruelty 
and all the other characteristic traits to which they were heir. 
They hunted and fished for a living, and the territory now em- 
braced in Perry County was noted as a famous hunting ground, 
evidences of that fact being recorded in provincial records and 
mentioned in various places in this volume. The only evidences 
of their industry were the locations of several patches of Indian 
corn and beans which the women raised. 

Their skin was red or copper-colored, their hair coarse and 
black, and they had high cheek bones. The males were seldom 
corpulent, were swift of foot, quick with bow and arrow and later 
with firearms, and very skillful in the handling of canoes. Their 
home was the tepee or wigwam, a few in after years having log 
huts. These tepees were a number of poles or saplings covered 
with skins of animals, the only heat afforded being from fires 
built upon the ground. 

Their only clothing was of skins, which they had a method of 
curing so that they were soft and pliable and which they often 
ornamented with paint and beads made from shells. Their moc- 
casins were of deer skin and were without heels. The females 
often bedecked themselves with mantles made of feathers, over- 
lapping each other similar to their appearance on fowls. Their 
dress was of two pieces, a shirt of leather, ornamented with fringe, 
and a skirt of the same material fastened about the waist by a belt. 
Their hair they made into a thick, heavy plait, which they let hang 
down the back. Their heads they usually ornamented with bands 
of wampum or with a small skull cap. The men went bareheaded, 
with their hair fantastically trimmed, each to his own fancy. The 
white man, with all his knowledge, has never been able to excel the 
Indian method of tanning, the result of which was softness and 

The aborigines had a peculiar idea of government. They were 
absolutely free, acknowledged no master, and yielded obedience to 



law only in so far as they chose, and yet there existed a primitive 
system of government which was a faint type of that of our pres- 
ent great republic. They worshiped no graven image, but spoke 
of "the great spirit" and the "happy hunting grounds." While 
their ideas of a future were indistinct, yet they possessed a belief 
in a hereafter. They had much reverence for the forces of nature 
and measured time by the sun and the moon. 

They had rude villages, one of which lay opposite the west end 
of Duncannon, on Duncan's Island, known as "Choiniata," or 
"Juneauta," which is known to have existed as late as 1745, the 
story of. which appears in the chapter devoted to Duncan's and 
llaldeman's Islands. In searching Indian historical data and tra- 
dition the knowledge that there was an Indian village in western 
Terr}- territory, probably near Cisna's Run, appeared somewhat 
vaguely. While it is impossbile at this late day to locate it ex- 
actly, it is practically certain that it was located on lands owned 
by the late George Bryner and W. II. hoy, at Cisna's Run, as it 
was on the north side of Sherman's Creek, on a branch of that 
creek, surrounding or near a deep spring. On Mr. Loy's lands, 
'most against the Bryner line. Cedar Spring, five feet deep, is 
located. Mrs. Jacob hoy, -of Blain, well up in years, had as an 
actual fact from her people, the location of this village. When the 
writer visited the location, in midsummer of 1919, Mr. Bryner 
was yet living and pointed out a mound, near the Sherman's Val- 
ley Railroad, which resembled a small knoll. From William Adair, 
an aged man who died many years ago, Mr. Bryner learned that 
it was once the site of an Indian log hut which he had seen in his 
youth, probably a lone reminder of the old Indian village. 

A neighborhood story connected with an Indian woman that 
lived in this hut, the last of her clan in the district, follows: 

She called on a neighbor, a Mrs. Cisna. grandmother of the 
late Dr. William R. Cisna, who resided near by. Mrs. Cisna. 
alter washing her hands, mixed the ingredients, and kneading the 
meal proceeded to bake corn bread, inviting her copper-colored 
caller to remain for tea, which she did. Shortly afterwards Mrs. 
CiMia returned the call and was invited to dine. She accepted, 
and the Indian lady also washed her hands and proceeded to mix 
the ingredients for corn bread, but mixed them in the water in 
which she had washed her hands. Not wishing to offend one of 
the race, Mrs. Cisna ate of this 'Sanitary" production and, not- 
withstanding, lived to a ripe old age. 

Between the Bryner and Loy homes and Sherman's Creek, oppo- 
site the point where the Moose mill is located, was an Indian corn- 
field. It is a bottom field, lying by the creek, and is as level as a 
floor. The evidence that this location was thickly populated at one 
time by the Indians is not only passed down by spoken word and 


records, but even in the year this is written — [919 Ex-County 
Commissioner A. K. Bryner (since deceased), while plowing a 
truck patch for his brother, containing less than two acres, found 
a half dozen of line specimens of Endain arrowheads, which arc 
in the possession of the writer. In the past few years he has also 
found an Indian tomahawk. Indian tannin- stones, skinning stone-. 
many arrowheads, etc. Some years ago, in the same vicinity, 
William Adair, the father of Ex-County Commissioner James EC. 
Adair, plowed up an Indian soapstone pot, a very rare specimen. 
The latter curiosity was unearthed on the farm now owned by 
A. N. Lyons. 

The Lyons or old Adair farm, the Bryner and Loy farms, and 
the dee]) spring are all on the location of the old Indian trail, 
known to later generations as the "bridle path," still descernible 
on Bowers' Mountain, opposite Cisna's Run, from whence it 
crossed westward to Kistler and around the foot of Conococheague 
Mountain to Juniata County and the West. 

They were, generally speaking, a lazy, listless people, addicted 
to the use of rum, which they knew as "walking stick," and lived 
on game, fish and mussels, the Susquehanna River at that time 
being prolific of the two last named products. Indian cornmeal 
was their only grain product, their method of grinding it being 
with a bowl and stones. With the coming of the early trader a 
market was created at their door for the skins from their game, 
for furs for the fair sex. The pay was often in trinkets and 
gaudy fabrics for which the red man had a fancy, sometimes in 
rum. and even in money, hut often the latter went for rum in the 
end. In the chapter on Duncan's and Haldeman's Islands there is 
a lengthy description of their mode of life by Rev. Brainerd, a 
missionary who spent much time among them. In the chapter 
dealing with Simon Girty much more of Indian life is to be 

When the pioneers settled the county a few Indians refused to 
follow their tribes in leaving their homes — just as many older 
people of the present day object to locating in new sections in the 
latter years of their lives — and remained. The Indian woman 
mentioned above as being located at Cisna's Run, was one of these, 
and an old Indian, known as "Indian John," who lived near the 
Warm Springs, in Carroll Township, was another. lie used to 
trade at the store of Thomas Lebo, at the point which later became 
Lebo post office, and is said to have been a very old man. 

At various places in this hook are recorded the taking oi cap- 
trade at the store of Thomas Lebo, at the point which later became 
now owned by Mrs. Charles McKeehan, located between Blain and 
, New Germantown, which was warranted and settled by John Rhea, 
who sold it to a family named 1 lunter, from whom the early 


Briners purchased it in 1809. During an Indian invasion of the 
valley two of the Hunter children, a boy and a girl, were cap- 
tured by red men. The girl escaped during the following night 
and returned, but the boy never came back. Long years after- 
wards he wrote to George Black, a neighbor, from the far West, 
making inquiry as to the disposition of his father's estate. George 
Conner, a black-haired child who was favored by the Indians dur- 
ing his captivity, was captured near Landisburg, but later escaped. 
He was the ancestor of Mrs. Garland, of Landisburg. 

The Indian was the earliest road builder, but his building con- 
sisted of making a mere path through the brush either in the most 
direct line or by the line of least resistance. Evidences of the old 
Indian trails yet remain, as described under the chapter devoted 
to trails and roads. Located along one of these old trails over 
Tuscarora Mountain is a large boulder, weighing many tons and 
of a size that would fill a large room of an ordinary house, known 
as "Warrior Rock," famous in legend and story. They also had 
a line of trails following the mountain tops, so that their per- 
spective was greater. These they used in troublesome periods. 

At various places in the county there are old Indian burial 
places which would substantiate the fact that Indian villages were 
once located in those vicinities. There is one at Saville post office, 
in Saville Township. This place was formerly known as Lane's 
Mill and was a great hunting and fishing ground for the aborigines. 
Those located here are supposed to have been the ones which came 
back to the county and did the attacking on the McMillen place, 
near Kistler. An old legend tells of their getting lead near by for 
the points of their arrows when they needed it, but if so, their fol- 
lowers — the pale face — has failed to locate it. Several men well 
up in years by the name of Elliott, who were Indian traders, re- 
sided in the locality, from whom descended David Elliott, D.D., 
LL.D., the noted divine. 

There is also legendary evidence of an Indian burial ground at 
Blain, at the old Presbyterian cemetery. Many arrowheads are 
found in the vicinity and a few years ago, in excavating- for a 
grave, two skulls were found placed against each other, the skele- 
tons extending in opposite directions. Tradition has it that that 
was the Indian custom of interment, thus affording ^ome evidence 
of the location of the Indian burial place at this point. Arrow- 
heads are found even to this day along Sherman's Creek, at New 
Germantown, Blain, Landisburg, Shermansdale and at many other 
points. Also at Millerstown and Duncan's Island, in the Juniata 
River territory. 

On Quaker Ridge, near the Warm Springs, in Spring Township, 
there is an Indian grave surrounded by pine trees. The aged resi- 
dents of the vicinity also recall the legend of the three Indian 


graves on the old Burrell farm, in Carroll Township, now owned 
l»\ Willis Duncan. Near the celebrated Gibson Rock, along Sher- 
man's Creek, is a spring', known to this day as Indian Spring. 
According to a legend six soldiers sent from the garrison at Car- 
lisle during the Indian uprisings, were waylaid there and murdered. 
John Clendenin, a settler in what is now Toboyne Township, 
was killed and scalped by the Indians near the site of the old 
Monterey tannery. One of the saddest of all the abductions from 
Perry County territory was the case of two children from the 
George Kern farm, bordering New Germantown, in Toboyne 
Township. Simon Kern, the ancestor, had come from his home in 
Holland and had located on the farm mentioned. Two small Kern 
girls were helping work in the fields when lurking Indians car- 
ried them away. They traveled a considerable distance when they 
were overtaken by night. During the night one of the little girls 
managed to escape while her captors slept and returned to her 
people. The other remained an Indian captive. Tradition tells of 
a woman from the stockade at Fort Robinson returning to the 
farm opposite — the McClure farm — and of her being killed and 
scalped by lurking redskins. 

* According to James B. Hackett, long a resident of New Bloom- 
field, whose father was once a resident of Madison Township, 
there was an interesting tradition connected with his father's tract 
of land there which was later owned by Noble Meredith. A man 
named James Dixon had first located it, but had been driven out 
by the Indians, and then took up a tract in Centre Township. 
John Mitchell then warranted it January 28, 1763. Three Indians 
are supposed to be buried there, and men of the present generation 
had the graves, then already overgrown mounds, pointed out to 
them in their early years. On this tract, according to this tradi- 
tion, was buried a pot or kettle of gold by a squaw, received in 
return for English scalps turned over to the French. It is sup- 
posed to have been left by the Indians when they were hastily 
driven out. Evidently this story is a mere legend, as the red men 
were too crafty to tell their white brethren their personal and 
tribal affairs. 

Wright's History names Millerstown as the scene of "either a 
long residence or probably a fierce battle between the Delaware's 
and the immigrating Shawnees," adding "the location of the con- 
flict was no doubt near the canal bridge, for they were interred in 
a wide and deep mound, west of the house now the residence of 
Mrs. Oliver, and found by the workmen who dug the canal." 
Mentioning an Indian village at or near Newport and one at Mil- 
lerstown, it says: "These were the only Indian villages in Perry 
County." As the soil which is now comprised in Perry County 
was inhabited at different times by different tribes, and as Indian 


villages were formed by wigwams, which were easily movable, 
the statement above is hardly borne out by facts. 

( )n Clemson's Island, opposite the town of New Buffalo, located 
on the Susquehanna River (not Perry County soil, however), was 
an Indian mound which is remembered by those in very mature 
years as being quite prominent, but now indiscernible. There are 
vague accounts of the torturing of whites in Pfoutz Valley, while 
the relentless savages danced about the fires which tortured and 
consumed the unfortunates. 

The Five; Nations. 

The great western confederacy of Indian nations was styled by 
the French, the "Iroquois," generally at first being known as "The 
Five Nations," and later as "The Six Nations." The Mohawks 
are said to be the oldest of the confederacy, the Oneidas joining 
them next, the Onondagas third, the Senecas fourth, and the 
Cayugas fifth. About 1713 the Tuscaroras from the Carolinas 
placed themselves under the protection of this "League of Na- 
tions, but was not formally admitted to membership until about 
1722. The Six Nations called themselves "Aquanuschioni," 
which the interpreter tells us means "United People." The 
Shawnees. who lived on the west branch of the Susquehanna and 
in Cumberland County (which then included Perry), were not in 
this confederacy. 

Just when the Five Nations was formed is uncertain. There is 
a tradition, according to the Jesuit Relations, that before the Eng- 
lish settlements were made in America the Susquehannas had al- 
most exterminated the Mohawks in a ten-years' war. Some his- 
torians incline to the belief that at that time the Mohawks ap- 
pealed to kindred tribes along the shores of Lake Ontario for aid 
and that that was the beginning of the Five Nations. It is prob- 
able that the Indian battles fought at Duncan's Island and likely at 
Millerstown were during this war between the Susquehannas and 
the Mohawks. Captain John Smith, who explored Chesapeake 
Bay in 160S. says the inhabitants of the Susquehanna country 
"made war with all the world," which implies that they were then 
already at war with the Mohawks. 

Kelker's History of Dauphin County says: "In 1633 they were 
at war with the Alonquin tribes on the Delaware, maintaining their 
supremacy by butchery." Later they warred with tribes from 
Maryland and Virginia, and Governor Calvert, in 1642, issued a 
proclamation declaring them public enemies. The end of the Sus- 
quehannas came in 1675, according to the fesuit Relations, when 
they were completely defeated and became the prisoners and sub- 
jects of their captors, evidently the Mohawks, as Thomas Penn, 
the provincial governor, later credited the Mohawks with owner- 


ship of the lands "by the conquest of the [ndian tribes on that 


The Shawnees were a tribe of Southern Indians, having resided 
near the Spanish possessions in that territory and being almost 
constantly at war with their neighbors. As extermination threat- 
ened them they appealed to the Five Nations and the English for 
protection, which was granted them by the treaty of 1701. They 
settled on the Susquehanna and its tributaries and were later as- 
signed to the lands along the Ohio. However, many of them re- 
fused to go, and the others kept traveling back and forth from the 
Ohio. The Six Nations resided principally in New York State 
and it was only by permission that the Shawnees were allowed to 
occupy these lands. As an illustration of the contempt in which 
they were held listen to this extract from a speech by Cannassetego, 
diplomat of the Iroquois : 

"We conquered you ; we made women of you ; you know you 
are women, and can no more sell lands than women ; nor is it lit 
you should have the power of selling lands, since you would abuse 
it. The land that you claim is gone through your guts ; you have 
been furnished with clothes, meat and drink, by the goods paid 
you for it, and now you want it again, children as you are. But 
we find you none of our blood ; you act a dishonest part, not only 
in this, but in other matters ; your ears are ever open to slanderous 
reports about your brethren. For all these reasons we charge you 
to remove instantly ; we don't give you liberty to think about it. 
Don't deliberate, but move away, and take this belt of wampum." 

The Delawares, who jointly with the Shawnees occupied these 
lands, were very much chagrined at being called women and usu- 
ally offered other explanations than the real one. 

Murder of an Early Trader.* 

Many of the early traders, because of their cupidity, took ad- 
vantage of the Indians by trickery and thus were at times the 
cause of much trouble to the provincial authorities. Others he- 
came the victims of their own greed. An instance of this kind is 
reproduced here in its original form for various reasons. At that 
time Duncan's Island, then known as Juniata Island, was a centre 
for traders and "McKee's Place," which was just around the lower 
end of Peters' Mountain, was also already inhabited by a number 
of these people. 

In this vicinity resided John Armstrong, or at least that is the 
impression formed from the fact that among the names on the 
affidavit are those of Thomas McKce, Francis Ellis, and William 
Baskins, who were among the searching party, who are known 

*From Conrad Weiser's journal. 

Note. — Shikellamy was sometimes spelled Shickcalamy. 


tn have been inhabitants here, and it is also probable that actions 
of those clays were largely as they exist to this day, in which a 
man's neighbors are those whose aid is first sought whose names 
are usually used in evidence. There is record of the three pioneers 
above named being located here in 1752, or eight years thereafter, 
and they probably were already here in 1744. 

Mnsemeelin was of the Indian tribe that inhabited the Susque- 
hanna Valley. In order to let the rising generation get a glimpse 
of the methods used to adjust difficulties between the province and 
the Indians the documentary evidence and communications are 
printed in full. It follows: 

Before Cumberland County was created, when the soil of Perry 
was yet an Indian domain, in 1744, one John Armstrong, a trader 
witli the Indians west of the Susquehanna, and two of his em- 
ployes, James Smith and Woodward Arnold, were murdered by 
an Indian of the Delawares on the Juniata River. Seven settlers, 
accompanied by five Indians, made a search and found the bodies. 
The murderer was apprehended and turned over to the authorities, 
being first imprisoned at the county seat at Lancaster, and later 
removed to Philadelphia, as his countrymen were about to assemble 
in conference with the whites at Lancaster, and it was deemed that 
his presence there might cause friction. The Colonial governor 
ordered Armstrong's property returned to his people and asked 
that a delegation attend the trial of the culprit and his execution, 
if found guilty. A brother of the murdered man, named Alex- 
ander Armstrong, of Lancaster County, wrote a letter to the king 
of the 1 )elawares — Allumoppies — at Shamokin, bearing on his 
brother's death and also threats made against himself: 

April 25, 1744. 

To Allumoppies, King of the Delawares: Great Sir, as a parcel of your 
men have murdered my brother, and two of his men, I wrote you, know- 
ing you to be a king of justice, that you will send us in all the murderers 
and the men that were with them. As I looked for the corpse of my 
murdered brother; for that reason your men threaten my life, and I can- 
not live in my house. Now as we have no inclination or mind to go to 
war with you, our friends, as a friend I desire that you will keep your 
men from doing me harm, and also to send the murderers and their com- 
panions. I expect an answer; and am your much hurt friend and brother. 

Alexander Armstrong. 

According to the following deposition the bodies of the mur- 
dered men were found after a search was made: 

Paxton, April 19, 1744. 
The deposition of the subscribers testifieth and saith, that the subscribers 
having a suspicion that John Armstrong, trader, together with his men, 
Tames Smith and Woodward Arnold, were murdered by the Indians. 
They met at the house of Joseph Chambers, in Paxton,* and there con- 
sulted to go to Shamokin, to consult with the Delaware King and Shikel- 

*Now Fort Hunter. 


lamy, and there council what they should do concerning the affair, where- 
upon the king and council ordered eight of their men to go with the 
deponents to the house of James Berry in order to go in quest of the 
murdered persons, but that night they came to the said Berry's house, 
three of the eight Indians ran away, and the next morning these deponents, 
with the five Indians that remained, set out on their journey peaceably 
to the last supposed sleeping place of the deceased, and upon their arrival 
these deponents dispersed themselves in order to find out the corpse of 
the deceased, and one of the deponents, named James Berry, a small dis- 
tance from the aforesaid sleeping place, came to a white oak tree which 
had three notches on it, and close by said tree he found a shoulder bone, 
which the deponent does suppose to be John Armstrong's, and that he 
himself showed it to his companions, one of whom handed it to the said 
five Indians to know what bone it was, and they after passing different 
sentiments upon it, handed it to a Delaware Indian, who was suspected 
by the deponents, and they testify and say, that as soon as the Indian 
took the bone in his hand, his nose gushed out with blood, and directly 
handed it to another. From whence these deponents steered along a 
path about three or four miles to the Narrows of Juniata, where they sus- 
pected the murder to have been committed, and where the Allegheny road 
crosses the creek, these deponents sat down in order to consult on what 
measures to take in order to proceed on a discovery. Whereupon most of 
the white men, these deponents, crossed the creek again, and went down 
the creek, and crossed into an island, where these deponents had intelli- 
gence the corpse had been thrown; and there they met the rest of the 
white men and Indians, who were in company, and there consulted to go 
further down the creek in quest of the corpse, and these deponents further 
say, they ordered the Indians to go down the creek on the other side ; but 
they all followed these deponents, at a small distance, except one Indian, 
who crossed the creek again; and soon after, these deponents seeing 
some Bald eagles and other fowls, suspected the corpse to be thereabouts ; 
and then lost sight of the Indians, and immediately found one of the 
corpse, which these deponents say, was the corpse of James Smith, one 
of said Armstrong's men; and directly upon finding the corpse these de- 
ponents heard three shots of guns, which they had great reason to think 
were the Indians, their companions, who had deserted from them ; and in 
order to let them know that they had found the corpse, these deponents 
fired three guns, but to no purpose, for they never saw the Indians any 
more. And about a quarter of a mile further down the creek, they saw 
more Bald eagles, whereupon they made down towards the place, where 
they found another corpse (being the corpse of Woodward Arnold, the 
other servant of said Armstrong) lying on a rock, and then went to the 
former sleeping place, where they had appointed to meet the Indians; hut 
saw no Indians, only that the Indians had been there and cooked some 
victuals for themselves, and had gone off. 

All that night, the deponents further say, they had great reason to sus- 
pect that the Indians were then thereabouts, and intended to do them 
some damage; for a dog these deponents had with them, barked that 
night, which was remarkable, for the said dog had not barked all the time 
they were out, till that night, nor ever since, which occasioned these de- 
ponents to stand upon their guard behind trees, with their guns cocked 
that night. Next morning these deponents went back to the corpses which 
they found to be barbarously and inhumanly murdered, by very gashed, 
deep cuts on their heads with a tomahawk or such like weapon, which had 
sunk into their skulls and brains; and in one of the corpses there ap- 
peared a hole in his skull near the cut, which was supposed to be made 


with a tomahawk, which hole these deponents do believe to be a bullet 
hole. And these deponents, after taking a particular view of the corpses, 
as their melancholy condition would admit, they buried them as decently 
as their circumstances would allow, and returned home to Paxton, the 
Allegheny road to John Harris'; thinking it dangerous to return the same 
way they went out. And further these deponents say not. 

These same deponents being legally qualified, before me, James Arm- 
strong, one of his majesty's justices of the peace for the county of Lan- 
caster, have hereunto set their hands in testimony thereof. 

James Armstrong. 
Alexander Armstrong, Thomas McKee, Francis Ellis, John Florster, 
William Baskins, James Berry, John Watt, James Armstrong, David 

The reader will note that the circumstances stated and those 
following relate to what was probably the first Indian massacre in 
the vicinity, that our country was yet in "His Majesty's" domain, 
and that the nearest county seat was then Lancaster. The mas- 
sacre was so shocking to the pioneers that a Provincial Council 
was assembled, the result of which was that the provincial inter- 
preter and Indian agent, Conrad Weiser, was dispatched in the 
name of the governor to Shamokin, to make demands for several 
others concerned in the murder. 

As this document, the proceedings of the council, has been pre- 
served for posterity, it is reproduced here, spelling, language, etc., 
just as recorded, probably being the first case for that territory 
where an Indian Council became necessary to the settlement of 
a matter which was vital between the Indians and the provincial 

At a council, April 25, 1744. — "The governor, George Thomas, laid be- 
fore the Board a letter dated April 22, 1744, from Mr. Cookson, at Lan- 
caster, purporting that John Armstrong, an Indian trader, with his two 
servants, Woodward Arnold and James Smith, had been murdered at 
Juniata by three Delaware Indians, and that John Musemeelin and John- 
sun of Neshalleeny, two of the Indians concerned in the murder had been 
seized by the order of Shikellamy, and the other Indian chiefs at Sha- 
mokin, and sent under a guard of Indians to be delivered up to justice; 
that one was actually delivered up in jail at Lancaster; but the other had 
made his escape from the persons to whose care he was committed. 

"His honor then sent to the chief justice to consult him about the steps 
proper to be taken to bring the Indian to his trial, but as he was absent at 
a Court of Oyer and Terminer in Bucks County, it was the opinion of the 
Board that the Indian, Musemeelin, should be immediately removed to 
Philadelphia jail, and that Conrad Weiser should be immediately dis- 
patched to the chiefs of the Delaware Indians at Shamokin to make a 
peremptory demand in his honor's name of the other murderers concerned, 
and that Shikellamy and the other Indians there do order immediate search 
to be made for the goods of which the deceased was robbed, in order to 
their being put into the hands of his brother for the satisfaction of his 
creditors, or the support of his family. And at the same time to inform 
them that the chiefs of the Indians which shall meet at Lancaster on the 
treaty with our neighboring governments, will be desired to depute some 


of their number to be present at the trial and at the execution of such as 
shall be found .guilty. 

"Conrad Weiser was accordingly sent to Shamokin. He writes in his 
journal, Shamokin, May 2d, 1744: This day I delivered the governor's 
message to Allumoppies, the Delaware chief, and the rest of the Dela- 
ware Indians in the presence of Shikellamy and a few more of the Six 
Nations. The purport of which was that 1 was sent express by the gover 
nor and council to demand those that had been concerned with Musemeelin 
in murdering John Armstrong, Woodward Arnold and James Smith; that 
their bodies might be searched for, and decently buried ; that the goods 
be likewise found and restored without fraud. It was delivered them by 
me in the Mohawk language, and interpreted into Delaware by Andrew, 
Madame Montour's son. 

"In the afternoon Allumoppies, in the presence of the aforesaid Indians, 
made the following answers : 

"Brother, the Governor : It is true that we, the Delaware Indians, by 
the. investigation of the evil spirit, have murdered James Armstrong and 
his men ; we have transgressed and we are ashamed to look up. We 
have taken the murderer and delivered him to the relations of the de- 
ceased, to be dealt with according to his works. 

"Brother, the Governor: Your demand for the guard is very just; we 
have gathered some of them; we will do the utmost of what we can to 
find them all. We do not doubt but that we can find out the most part, 
and whatever is wanting, we will make up with skins, which is what the 
guard are sent for to the woods. 

"Brother, the Governor: The dead bodis are buried. It is certain that 
John Armstrong was buried by the murderer, and the other two by those 
that searched for them. Our hearts are in mourning, and we are in a 
dismal condition, and cannot say anything at present. 

"Then Shikellamy with the rest of the Indians of the Six Nations there 
present said : 

"Brother, the Governor: We have been all misinformed on both sides 
about the unhappy accident. Musemeelin has certainly murdered the three 
white men himself, and upon his bare accusation of Neshaleeny's son, 
which was nothing but spite, the said Neshaleeny's son was seized, and 
made a prisoner. Our cousins, the Delaware Indians, being then drunk, 
in particular Allumoppies, never examined things, but made an innocent 
person prisoner, which gave a great deal of disturbance amongst us. 
However the two prisoners were sent, and by the way in going down the 
river they stopped at the house of James Berry; James told the young 
man, 'I am sorry to see you in such a condition, I have known you 
from a boy, and always loved you.' Then the young man seemed to be 
very much struck to the heart, and said, 'I have said nothing yet, but I 
will tell all, let all the Indians come up, and the white people also, they 
shall hear it.' And then told Musemeelin in the presence of all the peo- 
ple: 'Now I am going to die for your wickedness; you have killed all 
the three white men. I never did intend to kill any of them.' Then 
Musemeelin in anger said: 'It is true, I have killed them; I am a man, 
you are a coward; it is a great satisfaction to me to have killed them; 
I will die with joy for having killed a great rogue and his companions.' 
Upon which the young man was set at liberty by the Indians. 

"We desire therefore our brother, the governor, will not insist to have 
either of the two young men in prison or condemned to die; it is not 
with Indians as with white people, to put people in prison on suspicion 
or -trifles. Indians must first be found guilty of a crime, then judgment 
is given and immediately executed. We will give you faithfully all the 


particulars; and at the ensuing treaty entirely satisfy you; in the mean- 
time we desire that good friendship and harmony continue; and that we 
may live long together, is the hearty desire of your brethren, the Indians 
of the United Six Nations present at Shamokin. 

"The following is what Shikellamy declared to he the truth of the story 
concerning the murder of John Armstrong, Woodward Arnold and James 
Smith from the beginning to the end, to wit: 

"That Musemeelin owing some skins to John Armstrong, the said Arm- 
strung seized a horse of the said Musemeelin and a rifle gun; the gun 
was taken by James Smith, deceased. Some time last winter Musemeelin 
met Armstrong on the river Juniata, and paid all but twenty shillings, 
for which he offered a neck-belt in pawn to Armstrong and demanded 
his horse, and James Armstrong refused it, and would not deliver up the 
horse, but enlarged the debt, as his usual custom was, and after some 
quarrel the Indian went away in great anger without his horse to his 
hunting cabin. Some time after this, Armstrong, with his two companions 
on their way to Ohio, passed by the said Musemeelin's hunting cabin, his 
wife, only being at home, demanded the horse of Armstrong, because he 
was her proper goods, but didn't get him. Armstrong had by this time 
sold or lent the horse to James Berry; after Musemeelin came from 
hunting, his wife told him that Armstrong was gone by, and that she 
demanded the horse of him, but did not get him — and as is thought 
pressed him to pursue and take revenge of Armstrong. The third day 
in the morning after James Armstrong was gone by, Musemeelin said to 
the two young men that hunted with him, come let us go toward the Great 
Hills to hunt bears; accordingly they went all three in company; after 
they had gone a good way Musemeelin, who was foremost, was told by 
the two young men that they were out of their course. Come you along, 
said Musemeelin, and they accordingly followed him till they came to the 
path that leads to the Ohio. Then Musemeelin told them he had a good 
mind to go and fetch his horse back from Armstrong, and desired the 
two young men to come along; accordingly they went. It was then al- 
most night and they traveled till next morning. Musemeelin said, now they 
are not far off. We will make ourselves black, then they will be frightened 
and will deliver up the horse immediately, and I will tell Jack that if he 
does not give me the horse I will kill him, and when he said so he 
laughed. The young men thought he joked, as he used to do. They did 
not blacken themselves, but he did. When the sun was above the trees, 
or about an hour high, they all came to the fire, where they found James 
Smith sitting, and they also sat down. Musemeelin asked where Jack 
was ; Smith told him that he was gone to clear the road a little. Muse- 
meelin said he wanted to speak to him, and went that way, and after he 
had gone a little distance from the fire, he said something, and looked 
back laughing, but he having a thick throat, and his speech being very 
had, and their talking with Smith, hindered them from understanding 
what he said; they did not mind it. They being hungry, Smith told them 
to kill some turtles, of which they were plenty, and we would make some 
bread, and by and by, they would all eat together. While they were 
talking, they heard a gun go off not far off, at which time Woodward 
Arnold was killed, as they learned afterwards. Soon after Musemeelin 
came back and said, why did you not kill that white man according as I 
bid you? At this they were surprised, and one of the young men com- 
monly called Jimmy, run away to the riverside. Musemeelin said to the 
other, how will you do to kill Catabaws, if you cannot kill white men? 
You cowards, I'll show you how you must do; and then taking up the 
English axe that lay there, he struck it three times into Smith's head, be- 


fore he died. Smith never stirred. Then he told the young Indian to 
call the other; but he was so terrified he could not call. Musemeelin 
then went and fetched him and said to him that two of the white men 
were killed, he must now go and kill the third; then each of them would 
have killed one. But neither of them dare venture to talk anything about 
it. Then he pressed them to go along with him— he went foremQSl ; then 
one of the young men told the other as they went along, my friend, don't 
you kill any of the white people, let him do what he will ; I have not 
killed Smith, he has done it himself, we have no need to do such a bar- 
barous thing. Musemeelin being then a good way before them in a hurry, 
they soon saw John Armstrong sitting upon an old log. Musemeelin spoke 
to him and said, where is my horse? Armstrong made answer and said, 
he will come by and by, you shall have him. I want him now, said 
Musemeelin. Armstrong answered, you shall have him. Come let us go 
to that fire — which was at some distance from the place where Armstrong 
sat— and let us talk and smoke together. Go along then, said Muse- 
meelin. I am coming, said Armstrong, do you go before; Musemeelin, 
do you go foremost. Armstrong looked then like a dead man, and went 
toward the fire and was immediately shot in his back by Musemeelin and 
fell. Musemeelin then took his hatchet and struck it into Armstrong's 
head, and said, give me my horse, I tell you. By this time one of the 
young men had fled again that had gone away before, but he returned in 
a short time. Musemeelin then told the young men, they must not offer 
to discover or tell a word about what had been done for their lives, but 
they must help to bury Jack, and the other two were to be thrown into 
the river. After that was done Musemeelin ordered them to load the 
horses and follow towards the hill, where they intended to hide the goods ; 
accordingly they did and as they were going, Musemeelin told them that 
as there were a great many Indians hunting about that place, if they 
should happen to meet with any, they must be killed to prevent betraying 
them. As they went along, Musemeelin going before, the two young 
men agreed to run away as soon as they could meet with any Indians, 
and not to hurt anybody. They came to the desired place, the horses 
were unloaded, and Musemeelin opened the bundles and offered the two 
young men each a parcel of goods. They told him that they had already 
sold their skins, and everybody knew they had nothing, they would cer- 
tainly be charged with a black action, were they to bring any goods to the 
town, and therefore they would not accept of any; but promised never- 
theless not to betray him. Now, says Musemeelin, [ know what you were 
talking about when you stayed so far behind. 

"The two young men being in great danger of losing their lives— of 
which they had been much afraid all that day— accepted of what he of- 
fered to them, and the rest of the goods they put in a heap and covered 
them from the rain, and then went to their hunting cabin. Musemeelin 
unexpectedly finding two or three more Indians there, laid down his 
goods, and said he had killed Jack Armstrong and taken pay for his horse, 
and should any of them discover it, that person he would likewise kill; 
but otherwise they might all take a part of the goods. The young man, 
called Jitumy, went away to Shamokin, after Musemeelin was gone to 
bury the goods with three more Indians, with whom he had prevailed; 
one of them was Neshaleeny's son, whom he had ordered to kill James 
Smith, but these Indians would not have any of the goods. Some time 
after the young Indian had been in Shamokin, it was whispered about 
that some of the Delaware Indians had killed Armstrong and his men. 
A drunken Indian came to one of the Tudolous houses at night and told 
the man of the house that he could tell him a piece of bad news. What 


is that? said the other. The drunken man said, some of our Deleware 
Indians have killed Armstrong and his men, which, if our chiefs should 
not resent, and take them up, I will kill them myself to prevent a dis- 
turbance between us and the white people, our brother. Next morning 
Shikellamy and some other Indians of the Delawares were called to assist 
Allomoppies in council. 

"When Shikellamy and Allumoppies got one of the Tudolous Indians to 
write a letter to me to desire me to come to Shamokin in all haste ; that 
the Indians were much dissatisfied in mind. This letter was brought to 
my house by four Delaware Indians sent express ; but I was then in 
Philadelphia, and when I came home and found all particulars mentioned 
in this letter, and that none of the Indians of the Six Nations had been 
down, I did not care to meddle with Delaware Indian affairs, and staid 
at home till I received the governor's orders to go, which was about two 
weeks after. Allumoppies was advised by his council to employ a con- 
jurer, as they call it to find out the murderer; accordingly he did and the 
Indians met ; the seer being busy all night, told them in the morning to 
examine such and such an one, they were present when Armstrong was 
killed, naming the two young men ; Musemeelin was present. Accordingly 
Allumoppies, Quietheyyquent and Thomas Green, an Indian, went to him 
that had fled first and examined him; he told the whole story very freely; 
then they went to the other, but he would not say a word, but went away 
and left them. The three Indians returned to Shikellamy and informed 
of what discovery they had made. When it was agreed to secure the 
murderers, and deliver them up to the white people, a great noise arose 
among the Delaware Indians, and some were afraid of their lives and 
went into the woods ; not one cared to meddle with Musemeelin, and the 
other that could not be prevailed on to discover anything, because of the 
resentment of their families; but they being pressed by Shikellamy's 
son to secure the murderers, otherwise they would be cut off from the 
chain of friendship; four or five of the Delawares made Musemeelin 
and the other young man prisoners and tied them both. They lay twenty- 
four hours and none would venture to conduct them down ; because of 
the great division among the Delaware Indians, and Allumoppies in danger 
of being killed, fled to Shikellamy and begged for protection. At last 
Shikellamy's son Jack went to the Delawares, most of them being drunk, 
as they had been for several days, and told them to deliver the prisoners 
to Alexander Armstrong, and they were afraid to do it ; they might sepa- 
rate their heads from their bodies, and lay them in the canoe, and carry 
them to Alexander to roast and eat them, that would satisfy his revenge, 
as he wants to eat Indians. They prevailed with the said Jack to assist 
them, and accordingly he and his brother and some of the Delawares 
went with two canoes and carried them off." 

No available records remain to show the final disposition of ' 

According to a record left by John Harris, of Harris' Ferry 
(now Harrisburg), Jack's Narrows, near Mapleton on the Juniata, 
came to be named this way. Harris referred to them thus: "Jack 
Armstrong's narrows, so called from his being there murdered." 
Other writers claim they were called after Captain Jack, a reso- 
lute Indian hater, described elsewhere in this book. While either 
may be the truth, yet the fact that the murder happened at this 
point inclines one to believe that the mountain was named after 
the trader, Armstrong, who was murdered there. 


THE lands now comprising Perry County probably caused 
the provincial government a greater amount of anxiety dur- 
ing a number of years than any other in Pennsylvania. In 
a treaty made with the Indians for certain lands west of the Sus- 
quehanna River no lands north of the Kittatinny or Blue Moun- 
tains were included, yet notwithstanding this fact pioneers, im- 
patient over the delays of the land office, began entering the val- 
leys between the Kittatinny and Tuscarora ranges, as well as north 
of the latter, erected cabins and started to clear the lands, without 
the sanction of the provincial authorities, as the following pages 

A large delegation of Iroquois journeyed to Philadelphia in 
July, 1742, to receive the second and last payment for the lands 
which were sold to the proprietary in 1736. Canassatego, a chief, 
made a speech in which he refers to the Juniata lands, which in- 
clude the soil of Perry County and which was a matter of con- 
tention for years, finally leading to the burning of the cabins of 
"squatters," as portrayed further on in this chapter. He said: 
"We know our lands are now become more valuable ; the white people 
think we do not know their value, but we are sensible that the land is 
everlasting, and the few goods we receive for it are soon worn out and 
gone. For the future we will sell no lands, but when our brother Onas 
(William Penn) is in the country, and we will know before hand the 
quantity of goods we are to receive. Besides, we are not well used with 
respect to the lands still unsold by us. Your people daily settle on these 
lands and spoil our hunting. We must insist on your removing them, as 
you know they have no right to the northward of Kittochtinny Hills. In 
particular, we renew our complaints against some people who are settled 
at Juniata, a branch of the Susquehanna, and all along the banks of that 
river, as far as Mahaniay, and desire that they may be made forthwith to 
go off the land, for they do great damage to our cousins, the Delawares." 

This was not their first protest, as the governor's reply would 
indicate. He replied that "on your former complaints against peo- 
ple settling the land on Juniata, and from thence all along the river 
Susquehanna as far as Mahaniay, some magistrates were sent ex- 
pressly to remove them, and we thought no person would stay 
after that." To which the Indians rejoined, "These persons who 
were sent did not do their duty ; so far from removing the people, 
they made surveys for themselves and they are in league with the 
trespassers. We desire more effectual methods to be used, and 
honester persons employed." 



The governor promised them this would be done and after let- 
ting the period between July 7 and October 5 elapse he issued a 
proclamation from the contents of which one would infer that 
the sections most in contention were at the mouth of the Juniata 
and probably as far as the Juniata County line and in Fulton 
County and up the Susquehanna as far as Wyoming. 

These lands were among the choicest of the Indians, who made 
their living by hunting and fishing, being especially noted as a great 
hunting ground for deer, probably excelling all others, as the fol- 
lowing extract from a letter by Conrad Weiser, the interpreter, 
dated April 22, 1749, will show: He was on his way to Shamokin 
with a messenger from the provincial government to the Indians 
and met the sons of Shikellamy, at the trading house of Thomas 
McKee, and delivered to them the message, as he had been in- 
formed that all the Indians were absent from Shamokin. In the 
letter referred to, addressd to Richard Peters, secretary of the 
province, having just returned from this trip, he writes: 

"The Indians are very uneasy about the white people settling beyond 
the Endless Mountains, on Joniady (Juniata), on Sherman's Creek and 
elsewhere. They tell me that about thirty families are settled upon the 
Indian lands this spring, and daily more go to settle thereon. Some have 
settled almost to the head of Joniady River along the path that leads to 
Ohio. The Indians say (and that with truth) that that country is their 
only hunting ground for deer, because farther to the north, there was 
nothing but spruce woods and the ground covered with calmia (laurel) 
bushes, not a single deer could be found or killed there. They asked very 
seriously whether their brother Onas (William Penn) had given the people 
leave to settle there. I informed them of the contrary, and told them 
that I believed some of the Indians from Ohio, that were down last sum- 
mer, had given liberty (with what right I could not tell) to settle. I told 
them of what passed on the Tuscarora Path last summer, when the sheriff 
and three magistrates were sent to turn off the people there settled; and 
that 1 then perceived that the people were favored by some of the In- 
dians above mentioned ; by which means the orders of the governor came 
to no effect. So far they were content and said the thing must be as it 
is, till the Six Nation chiefs would be down and converse with the Gov- 
ernor of Pennsylvania about the affair." 

The Six Nations having consulted in council on the subject 
sent a delegation to Philadelphia with remonstrances, but the 
Senecas had already been there and had been dismissed with £100 
and little satisfaction. The Six Nations were given £50. Return- 
ing disgusted they killed the cattle and ruined the orchards along 
the way. 

In May, 1750, a conference was held at George Croghan's, in 
Pennsboro Township, Cumberland County, between the whites 
and the Indians, to give the Indians the assurance that those who 
had intruded on their lands on the Juniata should be removed with- 
out further delay. Present at the meeting were Richard Peters, 
secretary of the province ; Conrad Weiser, James Galbreath, 


George Croghan, George Stevenson, William Wilson, Hermanns 
Alricks, Andrew Montour, Jac-nec-doaris, Sai-nch-to-wano, Cata- 
ra-dir-ha, Tohonady Huntho, a Mohawk from Ohio. 

Some of these men went away peaceably, upon the promise that 
when the lands were purchased from the Indians they might re- 
turn to their claims, but others were morose and went to other 
sections. Among those to return were Richard Kirkpatrick and 
John McClure. 

Secretary Peters, in an official communication, dated July 2, 
1750, recounting the previous troubles along this line, takes credit 
for having caused the intruders to be driven out in June, 1743. 
He further says that to the best of his remembrance there were 
no further encroachments until about 1747, when, among others, 
"some persons had the presumption to go into a place called 
Shearman's Creek, lying along the waters of Juniata, and is situ- 
ate east of the Path Valley, through which the present road runs 
from Harris' Ferry (now Harrisburg) to Allegheny; and lastly 
they extending their settlements to big Juniata; the Indians all 
this while repeatedly complaining that their hunting ground was 
every day more and more taken from them ; and that there must 
infallably arise quarrels between their Warriors and these settlers, 
which would in the end break the chain of friendship." 

The Indians then threatened to do themselves what the gov- 
ernment failed to do, with the result that Richard Peters, secre- 
tary of the province, with Conrad Weiser, the interpreter, were 
despatched to the territory in which the new settlements were 
located to expel the intruders. They were joined by the magis- 
trates of the county, the delegates of the Six Nations, a chief of 
the Mohawks, and Andrew Montour, an interpreter. The party 
met with some resistance, but Mr. Peters, the secretary, was some- 
what of a diplomat and gave money to the needy and offered a 
place of refuge on farms of his own elsewhere. He also gave all 
of them permission to locate on parts of the two million acres 
east of the Susquehanna, purchased of the Indians the previous 
year. Some accepted, and Andrew Lycon was one of them, the 
town of Lykens, in upper Dauphin Comity, where he later settled, 
being named after him. 

In the letter from Richard Peters, the provincial secretary, to 
lames Hamilton, the Colonial governor, dated July 2, 1750, among 
other matters is the following report of this expedition : 

"Mr. Weiser and I have received your honor's orders to give informa- 
tion to the proper magistrates against all such as had presumed to settle 
and remain on the lands beyond the Kittochtinny Mountains, not purchased 
of the Indians, in contempt of the laws repeatedly signified by proclama- 
tions, and particularly by your honor's last one, and to bring them to a 
legal conviction, lest for want of their removal a breach should ensue be- 
tween the Six Nations of Indians and this province. We set out on 


Tuesday, the 15th day of May, 1750, for the new county of Cumberland, 
where the places on which the trespassers had settled, lay. 

"At Mr. Croghan's we met with five Indians, three from Shamokin, two 
of which were sons of the late Shikellamy, who transact the business of 
the Six Nations with this government; two were just arrived from Alle- 
gheny, viz: one of the Mohock's (Mohawk) nation, called Aaron, and 
Andrew Montour, the interpreter at Ohio. Mr. Montour telling us he 
had a message from the Ohio Indians and Twightwees to this govern- 
ment, and desiring a conference, one was held on the 18th of May last, 
in the presence of James Galbreth (Galbraith), George Croghan, William 


The lower part bears a resemblance to President Lincoln. 

These rocks were blown away when the new Pennsylvania 

Railroad Line was built around the Cove Mountain at 


Wilson, and Hermanns Alricks, Ksqs., justices of the county of Cumber- 
land ; and when Mr. Montour's business was done, we, with the advice 
of the other justices, imparted to the Indians the design we were assem- 
bled upon, at which they expressed great satisfaction. 

"Another conference was held at the instance of the Indians, in the 
presence of Mr. Galbreth and Mr. Croghan, before mentioned, wherein 
they expressed themselves as follows: 

" 'Brethren, we have thought a great deal of what you imparted to us, 
that ye were come to turn the people off, who are settled over the hills; 


we are pleased to see on this occasion, and as the council of Onondago 
has this affair exceedingly at heart, and it was particularly recommended 
to us by the deputies of the Six Nations, when they parted from us last 
summer, we desire to accompany you, but we are afraid, notwithstanding 
the care of the governor, that this may prove like many former attempts ; 
the people will be put off now, and next year come again; and if so the 
Six Nations will no longer bear it, but do themselves justice. To pre- 
vent this, therefore, when you have turned the people off, we recommend 
it to the governor, to place two or three faithful persons over the moun- 
tains, who may be agreeable to him and us, with commissions, empower- 
ing them immediately to remove every one who may presume after this 
to settle themselves, until the Six Nations shall agree to make sale of 
their land.' 

"To enforce this they gave a string of wampum, and received one in 
return from the magistrates, with the strongest assurances that they would 
do their duty. 

"On Tuesday, the 226. of May, Matthew Dill, George Croghan, Benja- 
min Chambers, Thomas Wilson, John Finley and James Galbreth, Esqs., 
justices of the said county of Cumberland, attended by the undersheriff, 
came to Big Juniata, situate at the distance of twenty miles from the 
mouth thereof, and about ten miles north from the Blue Hills, a place 
much esteemed by the Indians for some of their best hunting ground, and 
there they found five cabins, or log houses, one possessed by William 
White,* another by George Cahoon, another not quite yet finished in pos- 
session of David Hiddleston, another by George and William^ Galloway, 
and another by Andrew Lycon ; of these persons William White, George 
and William Galloway, David Hiddleston and George Cahoon appeared 
before the magistrates, and being asked by what right or authority they 
had possessed themselves of those lands and erected cabins thereon, re- 
plied: 'By no right or authority but that the land belonged to the pro- 
prietaries of Pennsylvania.' They were then asked whether they did not 
know they were acting against the law and in contempt of frequent no- 
tices given them and in contempt of the governor's proclamation. They 
said they had seen one such proclamation and had nothing to say for 
themselves, but craved mercy. Hereupon the said five men being con- 
victed by said justices on their view, the undersheriff was charged with 
them and he took William White, David Hiddleston and George Cahoon 

*This is the place where Frederick Starr, a German, with several of 
his countrymen, are spoken of in provincial annals as having "made set- 
tlements on Big Juniata, about twenty-five miles from the mouth thereof 
(recorded at other places as twenty miles), and about ten miles north 
from the Blue Hills." That location is impossible, as twenty-five miles 
(or twenty miles) from the mouth of the Juniata would be in Juniata 
County, while ten miles north from the Blue Hills would be in the vicinity 
of Wh'eatfield or Miller Township, in Perry County. Wright's History 
places Starr's settlement "probably near the Pennsylvania Railroad bridge 
over Buffalo Creek," above Newport, and those of Lycon and others 
"probably in Pfoutz's Valley," while the records of the land office show 
them to have been in Walker Township, Juniata County. In the letter to 
Tames Hamilton, dated July 2, 1750, is this clause, which locates the place 
in the vicinity of Thompsontown : "About the year 1740 or 1741, one 
Frederick Starr, a German, with two or three more of his countrymen, 
made some settlements at the above place, where we found William White, 
the Gallowavs, and Andrew Lycon, on Big Juniata, situate at the distance 
-of twenty-five miles from the mouth thereof," etc. As William White and 
Tohn Lvcon returned to their places, after the opening of the land office, 
February 3, 1754, and took up the lands legally, the location is determined. 


into custody, but George and William Galloway resisted, and having got 
at some distance from the undersheriff, they called to us : 'You may take 
our lands and houses and do what you please with them ; we deliver them 
to you with all our hearts, but we will not be carried to jail.' 

"The next morning being Wednesday, the 23d of May, the said justices 
went to the log house or cabin of Andrew Lycon, and finding none there 
but children, and hearing that the father and mother were expected soon, 
and William White and others offering to become security, jointly and 
severally, and to enter into recognizance as well for Andrew's appearance 
at court, and immediate removal as for their own, this proposal was ac- 
cepted and William White, David Hiddleston and George Cahoon en- 
tered into a recognizance of 100 pounds, and executed bonds to the pro- 
prietaries in the sum of 500 pounds, reciting that they were trespassers 
and had no manner of right and had delivered possession to me for the 
proprietaries. When the magistrate went to the cabin of George and 
William Galloway (which they had delivered up the day before, as afore- 
said, after being convicted and were flying from the sheriff) all the goods 
belonging to the said George and William were taken out, and the cabin 
being quite empty, I took possession thereof for the proprietaries ; then a 
conference was held what should be done with the empty cabin; after 
great deliberation, all agreed that if some cabins were not destroyed they 
would tempt the trespassers to return again, or encourage others to come 
there should these go away. So what was doing would signify nothing, 
since the possession of them was at such a distance from the inhabitants 
and could not be kept for the proprietaries, and Mr. Weiser also giving 
it as his opinion that if all the cabins were left standing the Indians 
would conceive such a contemptible opinion of the government that they 
would come themselves in the winter, murder the people and set their 
houses on fire. On these considerations the cabin by my order, was burnt 
by the undersheriff and company. 

"Then the company went to the house possessed by David Hiddleston, 
who had entered into bond as aforesaid, and he having voluntarily taken 
out all the things which were in the cabin, and left me in possession, that 
empty and unfurnished cabin was likewise set on fire, by the undersheriff, 
by my order. 

"The next day, being the 24th of May, Mr. Weiser and Mr. Galbreth, 
with the undersheriff and myself, on our way to the mouth of the Juniata, 
called at Andrew Lycon's, with intent only to inform him that his neigh- 
bors were bound for his appearance and immediate removal, and to cau- 
tion him not to bring himself or them into trouble by a refusal. But he 
presented a loaded gun to the magistrates and sheriff and said he would 
shoot the first man that dared to come nigher. On this he was disarmed, 
convicted and committed to the custody of the sheriff. This whole trans- 
action happened in the sight of the tribe of Indians, who by accident had 
in the nighttime fixed their tent on that plantation ; and Lyken's behavior 
giving them great offence the Shikellamies insisted on our burning the 
cabin or they would burn it themselves. Whereupon, when everything was 
taken out of it, Andrew Lycon all the while assisting, and possession 
being delivered to me, the empty cabin was set on fire by the undersheriff 
and Lycon was carried to jail. 

"Mr. Benjamin Chambers and Mr. George Croghan had about an hour 
before separated from us; and on my meeting them again in Cumberland 
County, they reported to me they had been at Sheerman's Creek, or Little 
Juniata, situate about six miles over the Blue Mountain, and found there 
James Parker, Thomas Parker, Owen M'Keib, John M'Clure, Richard 
Kirkpatrick, James Murray, John Scott, Henry Gass, John Cowan, Simon 


Girtee and John Kilough, who had settled lands and erected cabins 
thereon; and having convicted them of the trespass on their view, they 
had bound them in recognizances of one hundred pounds to appear and 
answer for their trespasses on the first day of the next Cumberland 
County Court, to be held at Shippensburg, and that the said trespassers 
had likewise entered into bonds to the proprietaries in 500 pounds pen- 
alty, to remove off immediately with all their servants, cattle and effects 
and had delivered possession of their houses to Mr. George Stevenson 
for the proprietaries' use; and that Mr. Stevenson had ordered some of 
the meanest of those cabins to be set on fire, where the families were not 
large or the improvements considerable." 

But even this did not deter aggression and at a council held at 
Carlisle in 1753 the Indians again protested the occupation of their 
hunting grounds and notified the authorities that "they wished the 
people called back from the Juniata lands until matters were set- 
tled between them and the French, lest damage should be done, 
and then the English would think ill of them." That they had a 
right to protest is substantiated by the fact that Alexander Roddy, 
Thomas Wilson, William Patterson, James Kennedy, John and 
Joseph Scott, and probably others, had located in 1753, in what 
later became Tyrone Township, then generally known as Sher- 
man's Valley. 

As early as 1751 the number of taxables in Cumberland County 
north of the Kittatinny Mountain was 1,134. Rupp's History 
says : "These were chiefly Irish and some few Germans, who 
seated themselves on Juniata River, Sherman's Creek, Tuscarora 
Path, etc." The first settlements of these intruders on the un- 
purchased lands began about the year 1740, and increased despite 
the complaints of the Indians, the laws of the province and the 
proclamations of the governor. 

While the treaty of 1736 gave to the Penns all the lands lying 
east and south of the Kittatinny or Blue Mountains, yet settle- 
ments had been made west of the Susquehanna River prior to 
that time, special grants having been issued for settlements. When 
the Penns came the first purchase by them from the Indians in- 
cluded a small domain around Philadelphia. This was at the fa- 
mous council meeting of 1682. On September 17, 1718, another 
treaty confirmed that sale and extended the lands as far west as 
the Susquehanna River. The treaty of 1836 again confirmed the 
previous ones, when on October 11, twenty-three Six Nation 
chiefs sold to John, Thomas and Richard Perm all the lands on 
both sides of the Susquehanna, "eastward, to the heads of the 
branches or springs flowing into the river ; northward to the 
Kittochtinny Hills, and westward to the setting sun." "Westward 
to the setting sun" merely meant that south and east of the Kitta- 
tinny Mountains all the lands, including those that drained into the 
Potomac, were conveyed — nothing more — and yet many of the 


white settlers construed that "westward to the setting sun" to mean 

The: Albany Treaty. 

Perry County is a part of the lands transferred by the Treaty 
of Albany, on July 6, 1754. The deed bears the names or marks 
of all the Chiefs and Sachems of the Six Nations and John and 
Richard Penn and their agents. It conveys to the latter "all the 
lands lying within the said province of Pennsylvania, bounded and 
limited as follows : Beginning at the Kittochtinny, or Blue Hills, 
on the Susquehanna River, thence along the said river a mile 
above the mouth of a certain creek called Kayarondinhagh ; thence 
'northwest by west as far as the said province extends, to its west- 
ern lines and boundaries ; thence along the said western line or 
boundary to the south line or boundary ; thence along said south 
line or boundary to the south side of said Kittochtinny Hills ; 
thence by south side of said hills to the place of beginning." The 
price was "400 pounds, lawful money of New York." 

Should these boundaries have stood practically the greater part 
of western Pennsylvania to the Ohio line would have been in- 
cluded, but disaffection appearing among the Indians a conference 
was held at Aughwick (near Mount Union) in September, 1754, 
at which the representatives of the various tribes declared that it 
was not their intention to sell the lands drained by the west branch 
of the Susquehanna and that they would never agree to any 
boundary that extended to Lake Erie. The "certain creek" named 
Kayarondinhagh, is Penn's Creek, which flows into the Susque- 
hanna at Selinsgrove and a line northwest by west would strike 
Lake Erie about where the city of Erie is now located. The result 
of this conference was that another treaty was concluded at Eas- 
ton, Pennsylvania, October 22, 1754, when the boundary lines to 
the north and west were changed. The line starting above Penn's 
Creek was made to run "northwest and by west to a creek called 
Buffalo Creek ; thence west to the east side of the Allegheny or 
Appalachian Hills ; thence along the east side of the said hills, 
binding therewith to the south line or boundary of the said prov- 
ince ; thence by the said south line or boundary to the south side 
of the Kittochtinny Hills; thence by the south side of said hills 
to the place of beginning." 

The territory, as thus defined by the revised boundaries, included 
all of the present counties of Perry, Juniata, Mifflin, Huntingdon, 
Bedford, Blair and Fulton, almost all of Snyder, about one-half 
of Centre and portions of Union. Franklin, and Somerset. The 
Perry County territory is the extreme southern part of this pur- 


During the preceding years pioneers had become familiar with 
the lands of the new grant and when the land office opened on 
February 3, 1755, on the very first day, a number of warrants 
were granted to those who had located their claims. While it has 
been impossible to give a full list of the warrantees during the 
early settlement of the county, yet a large number are covered in 
the early history of the various townships in .-mother pari of this 

As will be seen in the following chapters many of these pio- 
neers abandoned their homes and fled to more thickly populated 
sections during the French and Indian War, many more were 
killed and scalped and still others were taken prisoner by the 
wily redskins. 

The Six Nations were not the occupants of the territory, al- 
though in authority. Many of the Delawares and the Shawnees, 
who were inhabiting it did not take the treaty literally, claiming 
a sort of ownership by right of occupation. This, in connection 
with the settlers having come in before the purchase and the trou- 
bles between the English and the French and Indians, soon made 
the land a veritable "dark and bloody ground." 

That Andrew Montour, the first authorized citizen of the lands 
which now comprise Perry County, was sent for by Col. George 
Washington in 1754, the very year of the purchase of these lands, 
is attested by Montour's autograph letter, on file in the office of 
the Secretary of the Commonwealth, at Harrisburg, addressed to 
Governor R. H. Morris. It follows : 

Sherman's Creek, 16th May, 1754. 
Sir: I once more take upon me the liberty of informing you that our 
Indians at Ohio are expecting every day the armed forces of this province 
against the French, who, by their late encroachments, is likely to prevent 
their planting, and thereby render them impossible of supporting their 
families. And you may depend upon it, as a certainty, that our Indians 
will not strike the French unless this province (or New York) engage with 
them; and that, by. sending some number of men to their immediate as- 
sistance. The reasons are plain, to wit : that they don't look upon their 
late friendship with Virginia, sufficient to engage them in a war with the 
French; I therefore think, with submission, that to preserve our Indian 
allies, this province ought instantly to send out some men, either less or 
more, which I have good reason to hope, would have the desired effect ; 
otherwise I doubt there will, in a little time, be an entire separation ; the 
consequences of which, you are best able to judge, &c. I am informed, 
by my brother, who has lately come from the Lakes, that there is at that 
place a great number of French Indians, preparing to come down to the 
assistance of the French, at Ohio. I am likewise informed, by a young 
Indian man (who, by my brother's directions, spent some days with the 
French at Monongahela), that they expect a great number of French 
down the river, very soon. I have delayed my journey to Ohio, and waited 
with great impatience for advice from Philadelphia, but have not yet 
received any. I am now obliged to go to Col. Washington, who has 
sent for me many days ago, to go with him to meet the half-king, Mona- 


catootha, and others, that are coming to meet the Virginia companies; 
and, as they think, some from Pennsylvania — and would have been glad 
to have known the design of this province, in these matters, before I 
had gone. I am sir, your humble servant, 

Andrew Montour. 

The French and Indian War. 

Prior to 1753-54 for a period of probably seventy years tbe 
white settlers of the province and the Indians had gotten along 
peacefully in a general way, but about this time things changed. 
The Indians joined with the French against the English and 
bloody massacres followed. Already Virginia was being deso- 
lated and consternation seized the pioneers on every hand. The 
inhabitants of the new county of Cumberland, including what is 
now Perry County, petitioned Colonial Governor Hamilton for 
aid. The petition : 

The address of the subscribers of the county of Cumberland, sheweth 
that we are now in most imminent danger by a powerful army of cruel, 
merciless and inhumane enemies, by which our lives, liberties, estates, and 
all that tends to promote our welfare, are in utmost danger of dreadful 
destruction, and this lamentable truth is most evident from the late defeat 
of the Virginia forces, and now as we are under your honor's protection, 
we would beg your immediate notice, we living upon the frontiers of the 
province and our enemies so close upon us, nothing doubting but these 
considerations will affect your honor, and as you have our welfare at 
heart, that you will defer nothing that may tend to hasten our relief. 
And we have hereby appointed our most trusty friends, James Burd and 
Philip Davies, our commissioners, to deliver this our petition to your 
honor, and in hopes of your due attention and regard thereto, we are 
your honor's devoted servants, and as in duty bound shall ever pray : 

Cumberland, 15th July 1754. 
To which was attached the following signatures: Benjamin Chambers, 
Robert Chambers, James Carnahan, James McTeer, Charles Morrow, John 
Mitchell, Joseph Armstrong, John Miller, Alexander Culbertson, James 
Holiday, Nathaniel Wilson, Wm. McCord, James Jack, John Smith, Fran- 
cis West, James Sharp, John Ervin, Matthew Arthur, James McCormick, 
Charles Magill, George Finly, John Dotter, John Cesna, Joseph Culbert- 
son, Samuel Culbertson, John Thompson, John Reynolds, George Hamil- 
ton, David Magaw, James Chambers, Hermanus Alricks, Robert Meek, 
Archibald Machan, Benjamin Blyth, Joseph McKinney, John Thompson, 
Francis Campbell, John Finly, Isaac Miller, John Machan, John Miller, 
John Blair, James Blair, James Moore, John Finly, William White, Wil- 
liam Buchanan, John Montgomery, Andrew McFarlane, James Brandon, 
John Pattison, John Craighead, Wm. McClure, Samuel Stevens, William 
Brown, Pat McFarlan, Stephen Foulk, John Armstrong, Stephen Foulk, 
Jr., William McCoskry, Charles Pattison, William Miller, John Prentice, 
Arthur Forster, William Blyth, Gideon Griffith, Thomas Henderson, An- 
drew Mclntyre, John McCuer, Reuben Guthrie, George Davidson, Robert 
Miller, Thomas Willson, Thomas Lockert, Tobias Hendricks. It was 
read in Council, August 6, 1754. 

The governor, after giving proper consideration to the urgent 
demands of these settlers, in the same month — August, 1754 — sent 
a message to the Assembly, then in session, urging that immediate 


attention be given to the matter and assistance be sent to them. 
From "Votes of Assembly," 4-319, August, 1754. the document 
is here reproduced : 

"The people of Cumberland and the upper parts of Lancaster County, 
are so apprehensive of danger, at this critical juncture, from the nearness 
of French and savages under their influence, that the principal inhabitants 
have, in the most earnest manner, petitioned me to provide for their pro- 
tection ; representing withal, that a great number would be warm and 
active in defence of themselves and their country, were they enabled so 
to be, by being supplied with arms and ammunition, which many of them 
are unable to purchase at their own private expense. The substance of 
these several petitions, which I shall likewise order to be laid before you, 
appears to me, gentlemen, to be of the greatest importance, and well 
worthy of your most serious attention. You may be assured that nothing 
which depends on me shall be wanting towards affording them the pro- 
tection they desire; but you cannot at the same time but be sensible how 
little it is in my power to answer the expectations without the aid of your 
house. It becomes then my indispensable duty, and I cannot on any ac- 
count whatever, excuse myself from pressing you to turn your thoughts 
on the defenceless state of the province in general, as well as of our back 
inhabitants in particular; and to provide such means for the security of 
the whole, as shall be thought at once both reasonable and effectual to the 
ends proposed; in which, as in every other matter, consistent with my 
honor, and the trust reposed in me, I promise you my hearty concur- 

Legislative bodies in those days seem to have been the pro- 
genitors of the present-day product; and while the citizens ap- 
pealed continually, and the Indians wielded the tomahawk assidu- 
ously, the members of the Provincial Assembly talked continu- 
ously. According to old records all they did was "talk, and talk, 
and talk." 

In 1755, actual hostilities had begun, between the English and 
the French, in the struggle for the control of America and the 
settlement of the question as to whether it would be for all time 
an English-speaking or a French-speaking nation. The frontier 
settlers were panic-stricken, which is not to be wondered at, for 
were they not at the the verge of civilization ? 

The reader will remember that February 3, i/55 — tliat ver >' 
vear — i s the date upon which the land office opened at Lancaster 
"for the settlement of the lands which now form the county oi 

The Indian nations were divided. Sir William Johnston had 
induced the Mohawks, the Tuscaroras and the Oneidas to take 
sides with the British, and the Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas, 
to remain neutral — a difficult job. Many of the Canadian Iro- 
quois, however, went over to the French. Of the Susquehannas, 
Delawares and Shawnees, a part, influenced by Logan, John 
Thachnechtoris, Scarrooyady, Paxnons, The Belt, Zigarea and 
Andrew Montour, remained true to the Colonies, offering to estab- 


lish a post at Shamokin against the French; but part of them 
took up the hatchet. 

In the latter part of 1754 the disposition of the French toward 
the frontiers was very threatening, and it was proposed to remove 
the Indians from Aughwick, in what is now Huntingdon County, 
to the month of the Juniata. The opinion of George Croghan, the 
Indian agent then located at Aughwick, was sought, and his reply 
is reproduced here as showing that the settlers at the mouth of 
the Juniata River were principally traders. It follows: 

"As to moving the Indians to the month of the Juniata, I think 
it a very improper place, for this reason : it is settled with a set 
of white men that make their living by trading with the Indians 
that is settled on the river Susquehanna and sells them little else but 
spirits, so that it would be impossible to keep these Indians from 
spending all their clothing and then they would be forever teasing 
your honor for goods. Indeed it is my opinion that were they 
to live in any part of the inhabitance, it would be attended with 
bad consequences, as there is no keeping them from being in- 
flamed with liquor if they can get at it, cost what it will ; besides 
it is dangerous for fear of their getting sickness ; then they would 
say the white people killed them, and while they stay here they are 
a defense to the back inhabitants, which I think lays very open 
to the enemy, and I think if the government intends to build any 
fortifications for the security of the back inhabitants that this 
place or some place hereabouts is the properest place." 

As this was the year of the Albany purchase of these lands, and 
as the land office was not yet opened for settlement, the location 
of these traders was evidently on Duncan's Island, then known as 
Juniata Island, which was included in an earlier purchase by Penn. 

Late in October, 1755, the Indians appeared in the neighborhood 
of Shamokin, and early in November committed several murders 
of whites under peculiarly cruel and barbarous circumstances. 
Not only those on the immediate frontier, but also those farther 
to the heart of the settled part of the province were in constant 
dread of the savages. A proclamation signed by nine prominent 
citizens advised all to repair to the frontiers and be prepared for 
the "worst event." The George Gabriel's mentioned in their proc- 
lamation was located "below the forks of the Susquehanna, about 
thirty miles of Harris' Ferry, on the west side of the river," ac- 
cording to Rupp. The proclamation: 

Paxton, Oct. 31, 1755- From John Harris' at 12 p.m. 

To all his majesty's subjects in the Province of Pennsylvania, or else- 
where: Whereas, Andrew Montour, Belt of Wampum, two Mohawks, 
and other Indians came down this day from Shamokin (where Sunbury 
is now located), who say the whole body of Indians or the greatest part 
of them in the French interest, is actually encamped on this side George 
Gabriel's, near Susquehanna; and that we may expect an attack in three 


days at farthest; and a French fort to be begun at Sbamokin in ten days 
hence. Tho' this be the Indian report; we the subscribers, do give it 
as our advice to repair immediately to the frontiers with all our forces 
to intercept their passage into our country, and be prepared in the best 
manner possible for the worst event. 

Witness our hands. 

James Galbreath, John Allison, Barney Hughes, Robert Wallace, John 
Harris, James Pollock, James Anderson, William Work, Patrick Henry. 

P. s'. They positively affirm that the above named Indians discovered 
a party of the enemy at Thomas McKee's upper place on the 30th of 
October last. 

Mona-ca-too-tha, the Belt, and other Indians here, insist upon Mr. 
Weiser's coming immediately to John Harris' with his men, and to council 
with the Indians. 

Before me, James Galbreath. 

That the matter of calling forth the above proclamation was 
urgent is attested by the fact that the latter part of the date line 
shows it to have been despatched at an unusual hour, "From John 
Harris' at 12 p. m.," is the inscription, and it was likely sent by 
courier, or as the provincial authorities termed it, "by express." 

The above is from the provincial records and also establishes 
the fact that Thomas McKee had two places, a fact which has 
confused many writers. McKee was an Indian trader and is men- 
tioned in many records, one being in an earlier chapter of this 
book, where he was one of a party to help hunt for the murderers 
of John Armstrong. That he was one of these men would imply 
that he probably made his headquarters at the lower place, which 
was at Peters' Mountain, opposite Duncannon ; in fact his name 
frequently appears in matters pertaining to the lower location. 
The upper location was where McKee's Half Falls is, that place 
taking its name from him. The "places" were likely trading posts 
for the exchange of goods and possibly also stopping places for 
travelers, but the latter is hardly likely, as the country was too 
little settled to require such accommodation. People yet living 
remember when Harry McKee, a descendant, owned the farm at 
the end of Peters' Mountain. He later kept a hotel at the east 
end of Clark's Ferry bridge. 

McKee's store, mentioned in many provincial documents, was 
near Peters' Mountain, and further proof of the fact is contained 
in Rupp's History, page 314, where it is stated that William Clap- 
ham, commandant at Fort Halifax, wrote Governor Morris, July 
1, 1756, saying he would leave a sergeant and twelve men at 
Harris', twenty-four at Hunter's Fort, twenty-four at McKee's 
store, each in command of an ensign, and Captain Miles and 
thirty-seven men at Fort Halifax, naming the points in order 
coming up the river. 

CamerhorT, the Moravian bishop, on January 13, 1748, after 
•being at one of McKee's places, described him thus: "McKee 


holds a captain's commission under the government; is an exten- 
sive Indian trader; bears a good name among them, and drives a 
brisk trade with the Allegheny country." McKee's wife was 
either a white woman who had been reared among the Indians or 
was herself an Indian, probably the former. There is record that 
she conld speak little English. Various stories appear in historical 
works as to her origin. Certain it is that, if she were even reared 
among the Indians to her must be credited the half -savage nature 
of Alexander McKee — son of Captain Thomas — who was the fel- 
low renegade of Simon Girty. His rearing among the Indians, 
where his father traded, probably also contributed to it. He was 
George Croghan's assitant at Pittsburgh as Deupty Indian Agent 
to the British. When a lad at the store below Peters' Mountain 
he probably became acquainted with young Simon Girty, who lived 
a tew miles below. The reader is referred to the chapter on Simon 
Girty for further description of the younger McKee. 

In a letter* addressed to "Mr. Peters, Secretary of the Prov- 
ince, dated Conococheague, Nov. 2, 1755, John Potter, sheriff of 
Cumberland County, after telling of the great Indian massacres in 
Great Cove (now Bedford County), says: 'I am much afraid 
that Juniata, Tuscarora and Sheerman's Valley hath suffered ; 
there are two-thirds of the inhabitants of this valley who have 
already fled, leaving their plantations ; and without speedy suc- 
cour be granted I am of the opinion this county will be laid deso- 
late and be without inhabitants. Last night I had a family of up- 
wards of an hundred women and children, who fled for succour. 
You can form no just idea of the distress and distracted condition 
of our inhabitants, unless you saw and heard their cries.' " 

In a letter also dated November 2, 1755, to Governor Morris, 
signed by John Armstrong, f is this: "We have sent our ex- 
presses everywhere and intend to collect the forces of this lower 
part ; expecting the enemy at Sheerman's Valley, if not nearer at 
hand. I am of the opinion that no other means than a chain of 
block houses along or near the south side of the Kittatinny Moun- 
tain, from Susquehanna to the temporary line, can secure the lives 
and properties even of the old inhabitants of this county, the new 
settlements being all fled, except those of Sheerman's Valley whom, 
it God do not preserve, we fear, will suffer very soon. I am your 
honor's disconsolate, humble servant," etc. 

The only man, as far as official records show, who inhabited the 
territory which is now Perry County, to fight in the French and 
Indain W r ar with the army was Andrew Montour, the Indian 
agent and trader, who resided on Sherman's Creek, near where 

*Rupp's History. 
fProvincial Records. 



Montour's run empties into it. In one of his official communi- 
cations to Governor Morris, Braddock says he has forty or fifty 
Indians with him and has taken into the service Andrew Montour 
and George Croghan. Coming from such a source it is evidently 
not only official hut authentic. Another man, Alexander Stephens, 
who later resided in Perry County territory, and became a captain 
in the Revolution, was a soldier in this war and was present at 
Braddock's defeat. He was a private in Capt. Joseph Shippen's 
company of Col. William Clapham's regiment. 

Most of the Indians deserted the Braddock expedition, and with 
some reason. Braddock advanced with great pomp and his 
method of fighting was had, in so far as Indian warfare was con- 
cerned. Scarroyady, a chief, in an address to the Provincial 
Council, said : 

"It is now well known to you how unhappily we have been 
defeated by the French near Minongelo (Monongahela). We 
must let you know that it was the pride and ignorance of that 
great general that came from England. He is now dead ; but 
he was a bad man when he was alive ; he looked upon us as dogs, 
and would never hear anything that was said to him. We often 
endeavored to advise him and to tell him the danger he was in 
with his soldiers ; but he never appeared pleased with us, and 
that was the reason that a great many of our warriors would not 
be under his command." 

The following letter shows that Montour was mistrusted, and 
also illustrates the distressed condition of the territory at that 
period : 

"Carlisle, Sunday Night, November 2, 1755. 

"Dear Sir: Inclosed to Mr. Allen, by the last post, I sent you a letter 
from Harris', but I believe forgot, through that day's confusion, to di- 
rect it. 

"You will see our melancboly circumstances by the governor's letter 
and my opinion of the method of keeping the inhabitants in this county, 
which will require all possible despatch. If we had immediate assurance 
of relief a great number would stay ; and the inhabitants should be 
advertised not to drive off, nor waste their beef cattle, &c. I have not 
so much as sent off my wife, fearing an ill precedent, but must do it now, 
I believe, together with the public papers and your own. 

"There are no inhabiants on Juniata, nor on Tuscarora by this time, 
my brother William being just come in. Montour and Monaghatootha 
are going to the governor. The former is greatly suspected of being an 
enemy in his heart — 'tis hard to tell — you can compare what they say to 
the governor to what I have wrote. I have no notion of a large army, 
but of great danger from scouting parties. John Armstrong." 

Indian Massacres on County Soil. 

With the defeat of General Braddock in western Pennsylvania 
by the French and Indians on July 9, 1755, the Indians took the 


warpath and laid waste all outlying' settlements. The land office 
tor the settlement of these lands had only opened the third day of 
the preceding February and the new settlers were unable to locate 
in the territory until the coming of spring. They had cleared a 
few acres of land on which was growing their first crop when the 
Braddock defeat occurred. 

Evidently learning of the outrages of Indians elsewhere a brave 
family named Robinson,* the father's name being George Robin- 
son, and their neighbors erected a log fort and stockade on a 
tableland of the Robinson farm for the protection of the citi- 
zens in case of attack by the Indians. That it was built during 
this first year of the settlement of Perry County soil is attested 
by Robert Robinson in his narrative telling of the Woolcomber 
tragedy along Sherman's Creek. According to Rupp, the histo- 
rian, that and other murders occurred in Sherman's Valley towards 
the close of December, 1755 — the first year of the settlement of 
these lands. 

The story of Robert Robinson is recorded in tLoudon's Nar- 
ratives, the first part of it relating to the first battle fought with 
the Indians after Rraddock's defeat, in which his brother lost his 
life. It follows: 

"Sideling Hill was the first fought battle after Braddock's de- 
feat. In the year 1756 a party of Indians came out of Conoco- 
cheague to a garrison named McCord's Fort, and killed some and 
took a number of prisoners. They then took their course near to 
Fort Littleton. Captain Hamilton, being stationed there with a 
company, hearing of their route at McCord's Fort, marched with 
his company of men, having an Indian with them who was under 
pay. This Indian led the company, and came on the tracks of the 
Indians and soon tracked them to Sideling Hill, where they found 
them with their prisoners, and having the first fire, but without 
doing much damage, the Indians returned the fire, defeated our 
men and killed a number of them. My brother, James Robinson, 
was among the slain. The Indians had McCord's wife with them ; 
they cut off Mr. James Blair's head and threw it in Mrs. McCord's 
lap, saving that was her husband's head, but she knew it to be 

*The name is variously spelled Robison, Robeson, and Robinson. It is 
believed that the first method was the original, but as official publications 
of the state use the latter and as the descendants also do, that method is 
used in our pages. 

fFor much of the information contained in this chapter posterity is in- 
debted to Archibald Loudon, author of Loudon's Narratives. His father, 
James Loudon, was a pioneer in what is now Tuscarora Township, 
Perry County, and in Bull's Hill graveyard there the oldest stone marks 
his grave. Archibald Loudon thus got his information at first hand, there 
being no tradition about it. 


Robinson further says: "In 1756, I remember of Woolcomber's 
family on Shearman's Creek; the whole of the inhabitants of the 
valley was gathered at Robinson's, but Woolcomber Would not 
leave home; he said it was the Irish who were killing one an- 
other; these peaceable people, the Indians, would not hurt any 
person. Being at home and at dinner, the Indians came in, and 
the Quaker asked them to come and eat dinner ; an Indian an- 
nounced that he did not come to eat, but for scalps ; the son, a 
boy of fourteen or fifteen years of age, when he heard the Indian 
say so. repaired to a back door, and as he went out he looked 
back, and saw the Indian strike the tomahawk into his father's 
head. The boy then ran over the creek, which was near to the 
house, and heard the screams of his mother, sisters and brother. 
The boy came to our fort and gave us the alarm; about forty 
went to where the murder was done and buried the dead." The 
scene of this tragedy was the Burchfield farm, near Cisna's Run. 

Loudon's Narratives also states that in the year 1755 Peter 
Shaver, John Savage and two other men were killed at the mouth 
of Shaver's Creek, or Juniata, by the Indians. 

In February, 1756, Captain Patterson, with a party of scouts, 
went up the Susquehanna and reported the woods, from the Juni- 
ata to Shamokin, to be filled with Indians. Encountering a party 
of Indians they scalped one, which later proved to be the son of 
Shikellamy's sister. 

In Loudon's Narratives are the following details of another 
scalping: "February, 1756, a party of Indians from Shamokin 
came to Juniata. They first came to Hugh Micheltrees, being on 
the river, who had gone to Carlisle, and had got a young man, 
named Edward Nicholas, to stay with his wife until he would 
return — the Indians killed them both. The same party of In- 
dians went up the river where the Lukens now live — William 
Wilcox lived on the opposite side of the river, whose wife and 
eldest son had come over the river on some business — the Indians 
came while they were there and killed old Edward Nicholas (in 
some books the name is given as Nicholson) and his wife, and took 
Joseph, Thomas and Catharine Nicholas, John Wilcox, James Arm- 
strong's wife and two children prisoners. An Indian named Cot- 
ties (Cotter), who wished to be captain of this party, when they 
did not choose him, did not go with them. He and a boy went 
to Shearman's Creek and killed *William Sheridan and family, 
thirteen in number. They then went down the creek to where 
three old persons lived, two men and a woman, called French, 
whom they killed ; of which he often boasted afterwards, that he 

*Those killed at this time were William Sheridan, a Quaker, his wife, 
three children and a servant; William Hamilton, his wife and daughter 
and a man and two women whose last name was French. 


and the boy took more scalps than the whole party." Some his- 
torians locate the scene of this tragedy as "being within ten miles 
of Carlisle, a little beyond Stephen's Gap," evidently meaning 
Sterrett's Gap. The location of the French home is uncertain at 
this distant day, but was probably in the vicinity of Dellville, as 
the description says they went down the creek from the Sheridan 
home. There is little doubt that the Sheridan family lived along 
the creek on the farm long known as the Levi Adams farm, above 
Dellville. According to the statement of Rev. L. C. Smiley, Mrs. 
Ludwig Cornman, when near ninety years of age, pointed out to 
his mother the location of the graves, which her father, Philip 
Foulk, had shown her, telling her the story, exactly as printed 
above and in Provincial Annals. It is in the meadow, adjoining 
the W. A. Smiley farm, and the Sheridan house stood between 
the sites of the present Adams house and barn. For years a long 
stone, deeply set in the ground and projecting, marked the graves, 
but Mr. Adams found it inconvenient to farm around it and broke 
it off with a sledge hammer on a level with the bottom of the fur- 
row. Mr. Smiley, at a later period while working in the same 
meadow with Mr. Adams, was informed by him that at the time 
he was unaware of the stone being a marker of so historic an inci- 
dent or he would not have removed it. 

Of the murder on Sherman's Creek of ten persons there remains 
an affidavit made almost a decade later, being dated February 28, 
1764, and signed by Alexander Stephens, then of the county of 
Lancaster. He says Cotties, or Cotter, came back for a canoe 
which the murderers had left and admitted that he was of the 
party that killed these settlers. 

On October 1, 1757, near Fort Hunter — opposite Marysville — 
this Indian named Cotties saw a young fellow named William 
Martin,* gathering chestnuts, and killed him. In later years he 
got his just deserts. After the Indian war was over he appeared 
at Fort Hunter and boasted of the friendship he had had for the 
settlers. An Indian named Hambus, who had been friendly all 
the while, called him a liar and told of him causing all the trouble 
possible and of seeing him kill Martin. An altercation ensued, but 
the white settlers stopped it. Later in the day Cotties became 
drunk and while asleep the other Indian sunk his tomahawk into 
his skull. 

Robert Robinson, mentioned a number of times in these pages, 
was a hero and well known to Archibald Loudon, both being from 
Perry County territory. In introducing his narratives Mr. Lou- 

*This William Martin was the second son of Samuel Martin, of Pax- 
tang, whose uncle James had warranted the Fort Hunter property. He 
was a brother of Captain Joseph Martin, who became owner of the Mar- 
tin mills, in what is now Howe Township, upon the death of his father. 


don thus refers to him: "Robert Robinson, who was an eye wit- 
ness of many of the transactions related by him, was wounded at 
Kittanning, when it was taken by Colonel, later General John 
Armstrong, and a second time at Buffalo Creek, when two ot his 
brothers fell victims to savage fury. From our long acquaintance 
with this man, who is now no more, we can have no hesitation in 
believing the narratives correct, to the best of his remembrance." 
The French left unturned no stone in their efforts to enlist the 
Delaware's and often they were successful by preying upon the 
savage disposition through intrigue and deception. The following 
letter from Captain McKee to Edward Shippen, headed "Foart 
at Hunter's Mill, Ap'l 5th, 1756," is an example of their schemes: 
"Sir: I desire to let you No that John Secalemy, Indian, is Come here 
ye Day before yesterday, about 4 o'clock in ye afternoon, & Gives me an 
account that there is a Great Confusion amongst ye Indians up ye North 
branch of Susquehanna; the Delawares are a moving all from thence to 
Ohio, and wants to Persuade ye Shanowes along with them, but they 
Decline Goeing with them that course, and as they still incline to join with 
us, the Shanowes are Goeing up to a Town Called Teoga, where there is a 
body of ye Six Nations, and there they Intend to Remain. He has 
brought two more men, som women & som children along with him, and 
Sayeth that he Intends to live & Die with us, and Insists upon my Con- 
ducting him down to where his Sister and children is, at Canistogo, and 
I'm Loath to leave my Post, as his Honor was offended at ye last time 
I did, but can't help it, he Desires to acquaint you that his sister's son 
was killed at Perm's Creek, in ye scrimege w'th Cap't. Patterson. This 
with Due Respect from Sir, your Hum'l Ser't, 

"Thomas McKee." 
There were many encounters between the English and the In- 
dians. Loudon, in his narratives, says that few of the achieve- 
ments equal that of Samuel Bell, a wealthy farmer of Cumberland 
It follows : 

"Samuel Bell and his brother, George Bell, after Braddock's defeat, 
agreed to go into Shearman's Valley to hunt for deer, and were to meet 
at Croghan's (now Sterrett's) Gap, on the Blue Mountain; by some 
means or other they did not meet, and Samuel slept all night in a cabin 
belonging to Mr. Patton, on Shearman's Creek. In the morning he had 
not traveled far before he spied three Indians, who at the same time 
saw him; they all fired at each other; he wounded one of the Indians, 
but received no damage, except through his clothes by the shots; several 
shots were fired on both sides, as each took a tree; he took out his 
tomahawk and stuck it into the tree behind which he stood, so that 
should they approach he might be prepared. The tree was grazed by 
bullets and he had thoughts of making his escape by flight, but on reflec- 
tion had doubts of his being able to outrun them. After some time the 
two Indians took the wounded one and put him over a fence and one 
took one course and the other another, taking a compass so that Bell 
could no longer secure himself by the tree, but by trying to ensnare him 
they had to expose themselves, by which means he had the good fortune 
to shoot one of them dead. The other ran, took the dead Indian on his 
back, one leg over each shoulder; by this time Bell's gun was again 
loaded and he ran after the Indian until he came within about four yards, 


fired and shot through the dead Indian and lodged his ball in the other, 
who dropped the dead man and ran off. On his return, coining past the 
fence where the wounded Indian was, he despatched him but did not know 
he had killed the third Indian until his bones were found afterwards." 

The prominent Bell families of the past and the present gen- 
erations located in Rye Township are, however, not descendants 
of this same family. 

In a letter by James Young dated July 18, 1756, at Carlisle, to 
"the Hon. Gov. Morris," among other things is another reference 
to Sherman's Valley, as follows : 

I left Shamokin early on Friday morning in a battoe ; we rowed her 
down to Harris' Ferry before night, with four oars. There is but one 
fall above those you saw, not so bad as those at Hunter's ; it is about 
four miles from Fort Halifax. 1 came here yesterday noon hoping to 
find money sent by the commissioners to pay the forces on this side of 
the river as they promised, but as yet none is come. Neither is Colonel 
Armstrong come, and I find but sixteen of his men here, the rest having 
gone to Shearman's Valley to protect the farmers at the harvest, so when 
the money comes I shall be at a loss for an escort. I am informed that a 
number of men at the forts whose three months is expired agreeable to 
their enlistments have left their posts and expect their pay when I go 
there. This may be of bad consequence and I heartily wish there were 
none enlisted for less than twelve months. I am persuaded the officers 
would find men enough for that time. 

The distress of the frontier settlements at this time had became 
a tragedy and any attempt to portray their sufferings and fears 
would prove a failure. In the fall of 1755 the country west of the 
Susquehanna and north of the Blue or Kittatinny Mountain had 
three thousand men fit to bear arms, and in August, 1756, exclu- 
sive of the provincial forces, there were not one hundred, fear 
having driven the greater part from their homes into the more 
settled part of the province. Governor Morris, in his message to 
the Assembly, August 16, 1756, said: "The people to the west of 
the Susquehanna, distressed by the frequent incursions of the 
enemy and weakened by their great losses, are moving into the 
interior parts of the province, and I am fearful that the whole 
county will be evacuated, if timely and vigorous measures are not 
taken to prevent it." 

The Assembly were inclined to disregard the appeals, but the 
frequent reports of additional outrages impelled them to pass a 
measure providing for the appropriation of forty thousand pounds 
which was to be raised by taxing the proprietary estates. The 
governor, being indebted to the proprietaries for his position, 
vetoed the bill. The proprietary, however, made a contribution 
of five thousand pounds, which was applied to the defence of the 
frontier. Governor Morris and the Assembly not being able to 
agree on the matter of protecting the frontier from the ravages 
of the Indians the entire matter, including the petitions from citi- 


zens, was laid before the King of Great Britain, who ordered a 
hearing before a committee of the Privy Council. At this hearing 
Cumberland County (which included Perry) and the Assembly 
were represented by counsel and the Assembly was criticized for 

its conduct in relation to the public defense dating as far back as 

Upon consideration of the report of the committee the Privy 
Council went upon record that the Legislature of Pennsylvania, 
as of every other county, was bound to support its government 
and its subjects; that the measures heretofore adopted by the 
Assembly for that purpose were improper, inadequate and inef- 
fectual ; and that there was no cause to hope for other measures 
while the majority of the Assembly consisted of persons whose 
avowed principles were against military service; who, though not 
a sixth part of the inhabitants of the province, were admitted to 
hold offices of trust and profit, and to sit in the Assembly without 
their allegiance being secured by the sanction of an oath. 

The massacres which followed Braddock's defeat were princi- 
pally laid to King Shingas (Shingask), the greatest Delaware 
warrior of his period. Among the settlements that fell prey to him 
was Sherman's Valley, says Rupp, the historian. He was a small 
personage but his savagery is said to have been unrelenting. 

Those who had not fled or whose interests lay in the desolated 
territory petitioned the governor, council, and assembly for pro- 
tection against the relentless foe, the same being read in Council, 
August 21, 1756. Among the signatures are the ancestors of many 
Perry Countians. The petition : 

To the Honorable Robert Hunter Morris, Esq., Lieut. Governor of the 
Province of Pennsylvania: 
The address of part of the remaining inhabitants of Cumberland County, 
most humbly showeth, that the French and their savage allies, have from 
time to time made several incursions into this county, have in the most 
inhuman and barbarous manner murdered great numbers of our people 
and carried others into captivity, and being greatly emboldened by a 
series of success, not only attempted but also took Fort Granville on the 
30th of July last, then commanded by the late Lieutenant Edward Arm- 
strong, and carried off the greater part of the garrison, prisoners, from 
whom' doubtless the enemy will be informed of the weakness of this 
frontier, and how incapable we are of defending ourselves against their 
incursions, which will be a great inducement for them to redouble their 
attacks, and in all probability force the remaining inhabitants of this 
county to evacuate it. Great numbers of the inhabitants are already fled, 
and others preparing to go off; finding that it is not in the power of the 
troops in the pay of the government (were we certain of their being con- 
tinued) to prevent the ravages of our restless, barbarous and merciless 
enemy. It is therefore greatly to be doubted that (without a further pro- 
tection) the inhabitants of this comity will shortly endeavor to save them- 
selves and their effects by flight, which must consequently be productive 
of considerable inconveniences to his majesty's interest in general, and to 
the welfare of the people of this province in particular. 


Your petitioners being fully convinced of your honor's concern for a 
strict attention to his majesty's interest, have presumed to request that 
your honor would be pleased to take our case into consideration, and, if 
agreeable to your honor's judgment, to make application to his excellency, 
General Loudon, that part of the troops now raising for his excellency's 
regiment may be sent to, and for some time, continued in some of the 
most important and advantageous posts in this county, by whose assistance 
we may be able to continue a frontier if possible, and thereby induce the 
remaining inhabitants to secure, at least, a part of the immense quantity 
of grain which now lies exposed to the enemy and subject to be destroyed 
or taken away by them ; and also enable the provincial troops to make 
incursions into the enemy's country, which* would contribute greatly to the 
safety and satisfaction of your honor's petitioners — and your petitioners, 
as in duty bound shall ever pray, &c. 

The signatures : Francis West, John Welch, James Dickson, Robert 
Erwin, Samuel Smith, Wm. Buchanan, Daniel Williams, John Montgomery, 
Thomas Barker, John Lindsay, Thomas Urie, James Buchanan, Wm. 
Spear, James Pollock, Andrew Mclntyre, Robert Gibson, Garret McDaniel, 
Arthur Foster, James Brandon, John Houston, Patrick McCollom, James 
Reed, Thomas Lockertt, Andrew Dalton, John Irwin, Wm. BIyth, Robert 
Miller, Wm. Miller, James Young, John Davis, John Mitchell, John Pat- 
tison, Samuel Stevens, John Fox, Charles Pattison, John Foster, Wm. 
McCaskey, Andrew Calhoun, Jas. Stackpole, Wm. Sebbe, Jas. Robb, 
Samuel Anderson, Robert Robb, Samuel Hunter, A. Forster, N'ath. Smyth. 

Attack of Fort Robinson. 

Of the attack on Fort Robinson during harvest time in 1756 
there is record, as the narrative of Robert Robinson, of that hardy 
pioneer family of Robinsons, was preserved for posterity by 
Loudon, the historian, in his work known as Loudon's Narratives 
The Indians had murdered some persons in Sherman's Valley in 
July and waylaid the fort in harvest time. They kept quiet until 
the reapers had gone into the clearings to harvest, when a chance 
shot at a mark by Robert Robinson caused them to imagine they 
were discovered. But let us listen to his story, just as related : 

"The Indians murdered some persons in the Shearman's Valley in July 
and waylaid the fort in harvest time, and kept quiet until the reapers were 
gone; James Wilson remaining some time behind the rest and I not being 
gone to my business, which was hunting deer, for the use of the company. 
Wilson standing at the Fort gate I desired liberty to shoot his gun at a 
mark, upon which he gave me the gun and I shot. The Indians on the 
upper side of the fort, thinking they were discovered, rushed on a daughter 
of Robert Miller and instantly killed her and shot at John Simmeson. 
They then made the best of it that they could and killed the wife of 
James Wilson, and the widow Gibson and took Hugh Gibson and Betsy 
Henry prisoners. The reapers being forty in number, returned to the fort 
and the Indians dispersed." 

While the Indian was scalping Mrs. Wilson, Robert Robinson 
took a shot at him, wounding him, but he escaped. 

The story of Hugh Gibson, who was carried away by the In- 
dians at that time, reads like romance. It is recorded by Archibald 
Loudon, that first historian from Perry County territory, in his 
book, Loudon's Narratives, as follows : 


"I was," says Gibson, "taken captive by the Indians, from Robinson's 
fort, in Shearman's Valley, in July, 1756, at which time my mother was 
killed; I was taken back to their towns, where I suffered much from 
hunger and abuse ; many times they beat me most severely, and once 
they sent me to gather wood to burn myself, but I cannot tell whether 
they intended to do it or to frighten me; however, T did not remain long 
before I was adopted into an Indian family, and then I lived as they did, 
though the living was very poor. I was then about fourteen years of age; 
my Indian father's name was Busqueetam ; he was lame in consequence of 
a wound received by his knife in skinning a deer, and being unable to 
walk, he ordered me to drive forks in the ground and cover it with bark 
to make a lodge for him to lie in, but the forks not being secure they gave 
way and the bark fell down upon him and hurt him very much, which put 
him into a great rage and calling his wife, ordered us to carry him on a 
blanket into the hut and I must be one that helps to carry him in ; while 
we were carrying him I saw him hunting for the knife, but my Indian 
mother had taken care to convey it away, and when we had got him again 
fixed in his bed, my mother ordered me to conceal myself, which I did; 
I afterward heard him reproving her for putting away the knife, for by 
this time I had learned to understand a little of their language. However, 
his passion wore off and we did very well for the future. 

"Some time after this all the prisoners in the neighborhood were col- 
lected to be spectators of the cruel death of a poor, unhappy woman, a 
prisoner, amongst which number I was. When Colonel Armstrong de- 
stroyed the Kittanning fort this woman fled to the white men, but by some 
means lost them and fell into the hands of the Indians, who stripped her 
naked, bound her to a post, and applying hot irons to her whilst the skin 
stuck to the iron at every touch, she screaming in the most pitiful manner, 
and crying for mercy, but these ruthless barbarians were deaf to her 
agonizing shrieks and prayers, and continued their cruelty till death re- 
leased her from the torture of those hellish fiends. Of this shocking scene 
at which human nature shudders, the prisoners were all brought to be 

"I shall omit giving any account of our encamping or decamping, or our 
moving from place to place, as every one knows this is the most constant 
employment of Indians. I had now become pretty well acquainted with 
their manners and customs, had learned their language and was become 
a tolerable good hunter — was admitted to their dances, to their sacrifices 
and religious ceremonies. Some of them have a tolerable good idea of 
the Supreme Being; and I have heard some of them very devoutly thank- 
ing their Maker, that they had seen another spring and had seen the 
flowers upon the earth. I observed that their prayers and praises were 
for temporal things. They had one bad custom amongst them; that if 
one man kill another, the friends of the deceased, if they cannot get the 
murderer, they will kill the nearest akin. I once saw an instance of this: 
two of them quarreled and the one killed the other, upon which the friends 
of the deceased rose in pursuit of the murderer, but he having made his 
escape, his friends were all hiding themselves ; but the pursuers hap- 
pened to find a brother of the murderer, a boy concealed under a log; 
they immediately pulled him out from his concealment ; he plead strongly 
that it was not him that killed the man ; this had no weight with the 
avengers of blood; they instantly sunk their tomahawks into his body 
and despatched him. But they have some rules and regulations among 
them that are good; their ordinary way of living is miserable and poor, 
often without food. They were amazingly dirty in their cookery; some- 
times they catch a number of frogs, and hang them up to dry ; when a 


deer is killed they will split up the guts and give them a plunge or two 
in the water and then dry them and when they run out of provisions they 
will take some of the dried frogs and some of the deer guts and boil them 
till the flesh of the frogs is dissolved, then they sup the broth. 

"Having now been with them a considerable time, a favorable oppor- 
tunity offered for me to regain my liberty; my old father, Busqueetam, 
lost a horse, and he sent me to look for him ; after searching some time 
I came home and told him that I had discovered his tracks at some con- 
siderable distance and that I thought I could find him ; that I would take 
my gun and provisions and would hunt for three or four days and if I 
could kill a bear or deer I would pack home the meat on my horse; ac- 
cordingly I packed up some provisions and started towards the white set- 
tlements, not fearing pursuit for some days, and by that time I would be 
out of the reach of the pursuers. But before I was aware I was almost 
at a large camp of Indians, by a creek side; this was in the evening and 
I had to conceal myself in a thicket till it was dark and then passed the 
camp, and crossed the creek in one of their canoes. I was much afraid 
that their dogs would give the alarm, but happily got safe past. I trav- 
eled on for several days, and on my way I spied a bear, shot at and 
wounded him, so that he could not run, but being too hasty ran up to 
him with my tomahawk; but before I could give a blow he gave me a 
severe stroke on the leg, which pained me very much, and retarded my 
journey much longer than it otherwise would have been. However I 
traveled on as well as I could till I got to the Allegheny River, where I 
collected some poles, with which I made a raft and bound it together with 
elm bark and grape vines, by which means I got over the river, but in 
crossing which I lost my gun. I arrived at Fort Pitt in fourteen days 
from the time of my start, after a captivity of five years and four months." 

Hugh Gibson, mentioned as being taken captive, was the son of 
David Gibson, who came from County Tyrone, Ireland, about 
1740 and settled in Lancaster County, where Hugh was born in 
1 741. His mother's maiden name was Mary McClelland. The 
father died while Hugh was quite young and the widowed mother, 
with her three children, Hugh, Israel, and Mary, removed to the 
vicinity of Fort Robinson, then Tyrone Township, to be near her 
brother, William McClelland, who resided near Centre church. 
During that summer season of 1756, when Indian uprisings were 
common and the war whoop resounded through the forests, the 
widow and her children had taken refuge in the stockade at Fort 
Robinson. With her eldest son Hugh, Mrs. Gibson was out in 
the woods looking for their cattle, when she was shot down and 
scalped and her son chased and captured. He was carried away 
ti» the Indian town of Kittanning and adopted into an Indian 
family to take the place of a son killed in battle with the Cherokees. 
llis initiation into the tribe is said to have been by washing him 
thoroughly in the river which he was told washed away his white 
blood. From then on he was called brother by the Indians. 

He had been compelled to witness the cruel death of a. captive 
and when the Indians thought that he entertained thoughts of es- 
cape he was told that he would be served the same death and wag 


treated with extreme cruelty. In one instance he was set to carry- 
ing wood to be used in his own death by burning at the stake. 
Happily this threat was never carried out. When Armstrong 
took the Indian town of Kittanning with his company from Car- 
lisle, Gibson was kept in the rear in the woods with the old men, 
squaws and children but he was near enough to hear the sound of 
the guns as they battled. After the fall of their stronghold they 
retreated to the region of the Muskingum River in Ohio, where, 
at the point where its two branches joined, was located a large 
Delaware town. In fact, that was the extreme western point to 
which traveled those early missionaries. Rev. Dnffield and Rev. 
Beatty, who were the first advance agents of Christianity in Perry 
County territory. 

After his return to the settled portion of the province he resided 
with his maternal uncle, William McClelland, near the scene of his 
capture, later marrying a Miss Mary White, of Lancaster, and 
rearing a large family. After the Revolutionary War he removed 
to Crawford County, Pennsylvania, where he died at an advanced 
age, Tuly 30, 1826. Rev. Dr. George Norcross, the prominent 
divine so long pastor of the Second Presbyterian church of Car- 
lisle, was a descendant, being his great-grandson. 

Baskins Family Abducted. 

Some time after Braddock's defeat Fort Granville was erected 
at a place called Old Town, on the bank of the Juniata, some dis- 
tance from the present site of Lewistown, then Cumberland, now 
Mifflin County, where a company of enlisted soldiers were kept, 
under the command of Lieutenant Armstrong. The position of 
the fort was not favorable. The Indians had been lurking about 
there for some time and knew that Armstrong's men were few in 
number, sixty of them appeared July 22, 1756, before the fort, 
and challenged the garrison to combat ; but this was declined by 
the commander, in consequence of the weakness of his force. The 
Indians fired at and wounded one man belonging to the fort, who 
had been a short way from it, yet he got in safe ; after which 
they divided themselves in small parties, one of which attacked the 
plantation of one Baskins, near Juniata, whom they murdered, 
burnt his house and carried off his wife and children ; and an- 
other made Hugh Carroll and family prisoners. 

The Indians on one occasion murdered a family of seven per- 
sons on Sherman's Creek ; from there they passed over the moun- 
tain at Croghan's (Sterrett's) Gap, wounded a man, killed a horse 
and captured a Mrs. Boyde, her two sons and a daughter upon the 
Conodoguinet Creek. 

The Shawnees and Delaware Indians, aided and abetted by the 
French, continued their hellishness until 1757, when negotiations 



for peace were begun by the chiefs of these tribes ; but the French 
and the western Indians still kept up a desultory and sanguinary 

Battle With Indians at Peters' Mountain. 

At Peters' Mountain, opposite the location of Duncannon, ac- 
cording to the Pennsylvania Gazette of October 27, 1757, an en- 
gagement took place. It says: "We have advices from Paxton, 
that on the 17th inst., as four of our inhabitants, near Hunter's 
Fort were pulling their Indian corn, when two of them, Alexander 
Watt and John McKennet, were killed and scalped, their heads 

In the foreground, waters of the Juniata, the small boats being moored at the 
eastern landing of the old Baskins Ferry, on Duncan's Island. To the right Clark's 
Ferry Dam in the Susquehanna, with Peter's Mountain as a Background. 

being cut off; the other two scalped. That Captain Work, of the 
Augusta regiment, coming down from Fort Halifax, met the sav- 
ages at Peters' Mountain, about twenty of them ; when they fired 
upon him, at about forty yards' distance, upon which his party 
returned the fire and put the enemy to flight, leaving behind them 
five horses, with what plunder they had got ; and that one of the 
Indians was supposed to be wounded, by the blood that was seen 
in their tracks. None of Captain Work's men were hurt." 


Indians were used as guides and interpreters by the provincial 
troops and the troops were constantly aided by the pioneers. From 
a report from Col. John Armstrong dated Carlisle, July II, 1757, 
the following extract relating to Sherman's Valley is made : "On 
Wednesday last Lieutenant Armstrong marched with forty sol- 
diers, accompanied by Mr. Smith, the Indian interpreter, and ten 
Indians, into Sherman's Valley, where some of the enemy had 
been discovered. They were joined by thirty of the country people 
who wanted to bring over their cattle from that place. On Thurs- 
day they found the tracks of the enemy and followed them with 
spirit enough until evening, when the tracks made toward this 
valley ; next morning the Cherokees discovered some tracks bear- 
ing off to the westward, upon which they said they were discov- 
ered and that those bearing towards the westward were going to 
inform a body of the enemy, which they said was not far off ; upon 
which the lieutenant told the interpreter that his orders particu- 
larly led him to make discovery of the enemy's encampment (if 
any such there was) and to know whether any were drove off for 
their support. But two or three of the bravest of the Indians 
freely told the interpreter that their young men were afraid that 
the enemy discovered them and therefore no advantage could at 
that time be got ; nor could the interpreter prevail on them to 
stay any longer out. The lieutenant reconnoitered the country 
towards Juniata, and returned last night without any discovery of 
a lurking party of the enemy behind us." 

Even if a few had remained north of the Kittatinny or Blue 
Mountain to attend to the stock, or if trips were made across the 
mountain for that purpose, yet Sherman's Valley was practically 
abandoned in 1756, in so far as actual residence was concerned. 
The settlers had gradually gone back, however, until in 1763, as 
the next chapter will show, they were again driven from their 
homes by a devastating and relentless Indian warfare. 




IN 1758 the provincial authorities and the Indians made a 
treaty of peace and friendship at Easton, and, generally speak- 
ing, the Indian massacres were over; yet unattached bands 
of marauding savages appeared at times and committed murders. 
In fact the war between the English and the French still continued 
until 1762. A secret confederacy had also been formed by the 
Shawnees and the various tribes along the Ohio and about De- 
troit for the purpose of attacking simultaneously the English posts 
and settlements on the frontiers, and the territory which is now 
Perry County was certainly not only the frontier, but the "front 

This was termed by the frontier inhabitants, the Pontiac War, 
by reason of Pontiac, a chief of the Ottawas, being the evil genius 
who was one of the principals in the inception. The province had 
dealt leniently — too leniently — with the Indians and a treaty of 
peace was usually accompanied by expensive and numerous pres- 
ents, which in reality put a premium on war, as there could be 
no treaties of peace without the necessary preceding war. A cer- 
tain day was set apart and the frontiers everywhere were to be 
attacked at the same time. A bundle of small rods had been given 
to every tribe and one was to be withdrawn on the morning of each 
day, and on the date of the withdrawal of the final rod the general 
attack was to have been made. From the bundle going to those 
who were to attack Fort Pitt, at the present site of Pittsburgh, 
a squaw, not in sympathy with the movement, drew a few rods. 
This accounts for the actions of the Indians in attacking that place 
ahead of the designated day, which news was hurried abroad and 
which put some settlements on their guard. 

Their plan was deliberate and skillful. The border settlements 
were to be invaded during harvest, the people, corn and cattle de- 
stroyed and the land thus laid waste. Traders had been invited 
among them and these were first put out of the way, their goods 
being plundered. The country was then put at the mercy of scalp- 
ing parties and desolation followed in their wake. It is said the 
roads were literally covered with women and children seeking 
refuge at Lancaster and Philadelphia. The forts at Presque Isle, 
Lebeuf and Venango had been captured and the garrisons mas- 
sacred. For Ljgonier was barely saved. The soil of Perry was 


overrun by these western Indians and fortunately records exist 
which show some of the horrors, but many of them were in such 
exposed places that no one was left to tell the tale. 

In correspondence to the Pennsylvania Gazelle, dated Carlisle, 
July 12, 1763, is the following, which covers the horrible situa- 
tion, not only of what is now Perry, but of Juniata and of Cum- 
berland : 

"I embrace this first leisure since yesterday morning to transmit you a 
brief account of our present state of affairs here, which indeed is very 
distressing; every day almost affording some fresh object to awaken the 
compassion, alarm the fears or kindle into resentment and vengeance every 
sensible breast, while flying families obliged to abandon house and pos- 
session, to save their lives by a hasty escape; mourning widows, bewail- 
ing their husbands surprised and massacred by savage rage ; tender par- 
ents lamenting the fruit of their own bodies, cropt in the very bloom of 
life by a barbarous hand; with relations and acquaintances pouring out 
sorrow for murdered neighbors and friends, present a varied scene of 
mingled distress. 

"When, for some time, after striking at Bedford, the Indians appeared 
quiet, nor struck any other part of our frontiers, it became the prevailing 
opinion, that our forts and communication, were so peculiarly the object 
of their attention, that, till at least after harvest, there was little prospect 
of danger over the hills, and to dissent from the generally received senti- 
ment was political heresy, and attributed to timidity rather than judg- 
ment, till too early conviction has decided the point in the following 

"On Sunday morning, the loth inst., about nine or ten o'clock, at the 
house of one William White, on Juniata, between thirty and forty miles 
hence, there being in said house four men and a lad, the Indians came 
rushing upon them, and shot White at the door, just stepping out to see 
what the noise meant. Our people then pulled in White and shut the 
door; but observing through a window the Indians setting fire to the 
house, they attempted to force their way out at the door; but the first 
that stept out being shot down, they drew him in and again shut the door ; 
after which one attempting an escape out of the window on the loft, 
was shot through the head and the lad wounded in the arm. The only 
one now remaining, William Riddle, broke a hole through the roof of the 
house, and an Indian who saw him looking out, alleged he was about to 
fire on him, withdrew, which afforded Riddle an opportunity to make his 
escape. The house, with the other four in it, was burned down, as one 
McMachen informs, who was coming to it, not suspecting Indians, and 
was then fired at and shot through the shoulder, but made his escape. 

"The same day, about dinner time, at about a mile and a half from said 
White's, at the house of Robert Campbell, six men being in the house, 
as they were dining, three Indians rushed in at the door, and after firing 
among them and wounding some, they tomahawked in an instant one of 
the men ; whereupon one George Dodds, one of the company, sprang back 
into the room, took down a rifle, shot an Indian through the body, who 
was just presenting his piece to shoot him. The Indian being mortally 
wounded, staggered, and letting his gun fall, was carried off by three 
more. Dodds, with one or two more, getting upon the loft, broke the 
'roof in order to escape, and looking out saw one of the company, Stephen 
Jeffries, running, but very slowly, by reason of a wound in the breast, 
and an Indian pursuing; and it is thought he could not escape, nor have 


we heard of him since, so that it is past dispute, he also is murdered. The 
lust that attempted getting out of the loft was fired at and drew back; 
another attempting was shot dead; and of the six, Dodds, the only one, 
made his escape. The same day about dusk, about six or seven miles up 
Tuscarora, and about twenty-eight or thirty miles hence, they murdered 
one William Anderson,* together with a boy and girl all in one house. 
At White's were seen at least five, some say eight or ten, Indians, and at 
Campbell's about the same number. On Monday, the nth, a party of 
about twenty-four went over from the upper part of Shearman's Valley, 
to see how matters were. Another party of twelve or thirteen went over 
from the upper part of said valley ; and Col. John Armstrong, with 
Thomas Wilson, Esq., and a party of between thirty and forty from this 
town, to reconnoitre and assist in bringing in the dead. 

"Of the first and third parties we have heard nothing yet; but of the 
party of twelve, six are come in, and inform that they passed through the 
several places in Tuscarora, and saw the houses in flames, or burnt en- 
tirely down. That the grain that had been reaped the Indians burnt in 
shocks and had set the fences on fire where the grain was unreaped ; that 
the hogs had fallen upon and mangled several of the dead bodies ; that 
the said company of twelve, suspecting danger, durst not stay to bury the 
dead ; that after they had returned over the Tuscarora Mountain, about 
one or two miles on this side of it, and about eighteen or twenty from 
hence, they were fired on by a large party of Indians, supposed about 
thirty, and were obliged to fly; that two, viz: William Robinson and John 
Graham, are certainly killed, and four more are missing, who it is thought, 
have fallen into the hands of the enemy, as they appeared slow in flight, 
most probably wounded, and the savages pursued with violence. What 
farther mischief has been done we have not heard, but expect every day 
and hour, some more messages of melancholy news. 

"In hearing of the above defeat, we sent out another party of thirty or 
upwards, commanded by our high sheriff, Mr. Dunning, and Mr. William 
Lyon, to go in quest of the enemy, or fall in with and reinforce our other 
parties. There are also a number gone out from about three miles below this, 
so that we now have over the hills upwards of eighty or ninety volunteers 
scouring the woods. The inhabitants of Shearman's Valley, Tuscarora, 
&c, are all come over, and the people of this valley, near the mountain, 
are beginning to move in, so that in a few days there will be scarcely a 
house inhabited north of Carlisle. Many of our people are greatly dis- 
tressed, through want of arms and ammunition; and numbers of those 
beat off their places have hardly money enough to purchase a pound of 

"Our women and children, I suppose must move downwards, if the 
enemy proceed. To-day a British vengeance begins to rise in the breasts 
of our men. One of them that fell from among the twelve, as he was 
just expiring, said to one of his fellows: 'Here, take my gun and kill the 
first Indian you see, and all shall be well.' " 

The following is an extract from a letter dated the next day, 
July 13, 1763, to the same paper, and continuing the report of the 
relief forces sent north of the Kittatinnies : 

"Last night Colonel Armstrong returned. He left the party, who pur- 
sued further and found several dead, whom they buried in the best man- 
ner they could, and are now all returned in. From what appears the In- 
dians are traveling from one place to another, along the valley, burning 

*William Anderson was killed without warning, while reading the Bible. 


the farms, and destroying all the people they meet with. This day gives 
an account of six more being killed in the valley, so that since last Sunday 
morning, to this day, twelve o'clock, we have a pretty authentic account 
of the number slain, being twenty-five, and four or five wounded. The 
Colonel, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Alricks are now on the parade, endeavoring 
to raise another party, to go out and succor the sheriff and his party con- 
sisting of fifty men, which marched yesterday, and I hope they will be 
able to send off immediately twenty good men. The people here, I assure 
you, want nothing but a good leader and a little encouragement, to make 
a very good defense." 

The result of these marauding expeditions is best summed up 
by the Pennsylvania Gazette of July 28, 1763, in which is the fol- 
lowing statement : 

"Our advices from Carlisle are that the party under the sheriff, Mr. 
Dunning, mentioned in our last, fell in with the enemy, at the house of 
one Alexander Logan, in Shearman's Valley, supposed to be about fifteen, 
or upwards, who had murdered the said Logan, his son, and another man 
about two miles from said house, and mortally wounded a fourth, who is 
since dead; and that at the time of their being discovered they were 
rifling the house and shooting down the cattle, and it is thought, about to 
return home with the spoil they had got. That our men, on seeing them, 
immediately spread themselves from right to left, with a design to sur- 
round them, and engaged the savages with great courage, but from their 
eagerness rather too soon, as some of the party had not got up when the 
skirmish began; that the enemy returned our first fire very briskly; but 
our people, regardless of that, rushed upon them, when they fled, and were 
pursued a considerable way, till thickets secured their escape, four or five 
of them it was thought being mortally wounded ; that our parties had 
brought in with them what cattle they could collect, but that great numbers 
were killed by the Indians, and many of the horses that were in the val- 
leys carried off; that since the 10th inst. there was an account of fifty- 
four persons being killed by the enemy. 

"That the Indians had set fire to houses, barns, corn, wheat and rye, 
hay ; in short, to everything combustible ; so that the whole country 
seemed to be in one general blaze ; that the miseries and distresses of 
the poor people were really shocking to humanity, and beyond the power 
of language to describe; that Carlisle was become the barrier, not a single 
inhabitant being beyond it ; that every stable and hovel in the town was 
crowded with miserable refugees, who were reduced to a state of beggary 
and despair; their houses, cattle and harvest destroyed; and from a 
plentiful, independent people, they were become real objects of charity 
and comiseration ; that it was most dismal to see the streets filled with 
people, in whose countenances must be discovered a mixture of grief, 
madness and despair; and to hear, now and then, the sighs and groans 
of men; the disconsolate lamentations of women, and the screams of 
children, who had lost their nearest and dearest relatives ; and that on 
both sides of the Susquehanna, for some miles, the woods were filled 
with poor families, and their cattle, who made fires, and lived like sav- 
ages, exposed to the inclemencies of the weather." 

From a letter dated July 30, 1763, at Carlisle, the following 
account is taken. It relates of the efforts made to save a part of 
the harvests : 

"On the 25th, a considerable number of the inhabitants of Shearman's 
Valley went over, with a party of soldiers to guard them, to attempt 


saving as much of their grain as might be standing, and it is hoped a 
considerable quantity will yet be preserved. A party of volunteers, be- 
tween twenty and thirty, went to the farther side of the valley, next to 
the Tuscarora Mountain, to see what appearance there might be of the 
Indians, as it was thought they would most probably be there, if any- 
where in the settlement ; to search for, and bury the dead at Buffalo 
Creek, and to assist the inhabitants that lived along, or near the foot of 
the mountain, in bringing off what they could, which services they accord- 
ingly performed, burying the remains of three persons; but saw no marks 
of Indians having lately been there, excepting one track, supposed about 
two or three days old, near the narrows of Buffalo Creek hill; and heard 
some hallooing and firing of a gun at another place." 

The murders at the home of William White, previously men- 
tioned in this chapter, were in harvest time and the reapers, as the 
harvest hands were then termed, were all in the house, it being 
the Sabbath day, when the redskins surprised them. Robert Rob- 
inson's account of many of these murders is almost parallel with 
that of the accounts printed on the foregoing pages, but he goes 
farther. He tells of receiving the news at Edward Elliott's, where 
he and others were harvesting; how John Graham, John Christy 
and James Christy heard the firing of guns at the William Ander- 
son home early in the evening, and of their investigation and carry- 
ing the news to Elliott's. His account further says : 

"Graham and the Christys came about midnight. We, hearing the In- 
dians had got so far up the Tuscarora Valley, and knowing Collins' famliy 
and James Scott's were there about harvest, twelve of us concluded to go 
over Bigham's Gap (the entrance to Liberty Valley) and give those 
word that were there ; when we came to Collins' we saw that the Indians 
had been there, had broke a wheel, emptied a bed and taken flour, of 
which they made some water gruel ; we counted thirteen spoons made of 
bark ; we followed the tracks made down to James Scott's, where we 
found the Indians had killed some fowls; we pursued on to Graham's; 
there the house was on fire and burned down to the joists. We divided 
our men into two parties, six in each; my brother with his party came in 
behind the barn, and myself with the other party came down through an 
oats field ; I was to shoot first ; the Indians had hung a coat upon a post 
on the other side of the fire from us ; I looked at it and saw it immovable, 
and therefore walked down to it and found that the Indians had just left 
it ; they had killed four hogs and had eaten at pleasure. Our company 
took their track, and found that two companies had met at Graham's and 
had gone over the Tuscarora Mountain. We took the run gap, the two 
roads meeting at Nicholsons; they were there first, heard us coming and 
lay in ambush for us; they had first fire; being twenty-five in number 
and only twelve of us — they killed five and wounded myself. They then 
went to Alexander Logan's, where they emptied some beds and passed on 
to George McCord's. 

"The names of the twelve were William Robison, who acted as cap- 
tain; Robert Robison, the relator of this narrative; Thomas Robison, 
being three brothers ; John Graham, Charles Elliott, William Christy, 
James Christy, David Miller, John Elliott, Edward McConnel, William 
McAlister, and John Nicholas. The persons killed were William Robi- 
son, who was shot in the belly with buckshot and got about half a mile 
from the ground; John Elliott, then a boy about seventeen years of age, 


having emptied his gun, was pursued by an Indian with his tomahawk, 
who was within a few perches of him when Elliott had poured some 
powder into his gun by random, out of his powder horn, and having a 
bullet in his mouth, put it in the muzzle, but had no time to ram it down; 
he turned and fired at his pursuer, who clapped his hand on his stomach 
and cried 'och,' then turned and fled. Elliott had run a few perches fur- 
ther, when he overtook William Robison, weltering in his blood, in his 
last agonies; he requested Elliott to carry him off, who excused himself 
by telling of his inability to do so, and also of the danger they were in ; 
he said he knew it, but desired him to take his gun with him, and, peace 
or war, if ever he had an opportunity of killing an Indian, to shoot him 
for his sake. Elliott brought away the gun and Robison was not found 
by the Indians. 

"Thomas Robison stood on the ground until the whole of his people 
were fled, nor did the Indians offer to pursue, until the last man left the 
field; Thomas having fired and charged a second time, the Indians were 
prepared for him, and when he took aim past the tree, a number fired at 
him at the same time ; one of his arms was broken ; he took his gun in 
the other and fled; going up a hill he came to a high log, and clapped 
his hand, in which was his gun, on the log to assist in leaping over it; 
while in the attitude of stooping a bullet entered his side, going in a tri- 
angular course through his body; he sunk down across the log; the In- 
dians sunk the cock of his gun into his brains and mangled him very 
much. John Graham was seen by David Miller sitting on a log, not far 
from the place of attack, with his hands on his face, and blood running 
through his fingers. Charles Elliott and Edward McConnel took a circle 
round where the Indians were laying, and made the best of their way to 
Buffalo Creek; but they were pursued by the Indians; and where they 
crossed the creek there was a high bank, and as they were endeavoring 
to ascend the bank, they were both shot and fell back into the water. 

"Thus ended the unfortunate affair ; but at the same time it appears as 
if the hand of Providence had been in the whole transaction, for there is 
every reason to believe that spies had been viewing the place the night 
before, and the Indians were within three quarters of a mile from the 
place from which the men had started, when there would have been from 
twenty to thirty men perhaps in the field reaping, and all the guns that 
could be depended upon were in this small company, except one, so that 
they might have become an easy prey, and instead of those five brave men 
who lost their lives three times that number might have done so. 

"A party of forty men came from Carlisle to bury the dead at Juniata ; 
when they saw the dead at Buffalo Creek they returned home. Then a 
party of men came with Captain Dunning; but before they came to Alex- 
ander Logan's his son John, Charles Coyle, William Hamilton, with 
Bartholomew Davis, followed the Indians to George McCord's, where they 
were in the barn ; Logan and those with him were all killed, except Davis, 
who made his escape and joined Captain Dunning. The Indians then re- 
turned to Logan's house again, when Captain Dunning and his party came 
on them, and they fired some time at each other; Dunning had one man 

"The relief parties took back with them what cattle they could secure, 
but the Indians had killed a large number and had taken all the horses 
upon which they could lay hands." 

By the latter part of July, 1763, there were 1,384 refugees from 
' north of the Kittatinny Mountain domiciled in barns, sheds or 
other temporary place of refuge at Shippenshurg, having fled from 
their homes. 


The victory of Colonel Henry Bouquet over the Indians in west- 
ern Pennsylavnia, in 1764, gave the settlers new courage and they 
gradually returned to Sherman's Valley and the territory east of 
the Juniata River, and by 1767 many of the best locations in the 
county had been warranted. 

*There is record of the heirs of Robert Campbell, mentioned in 
this chapter as being cruelly murdered by the Indians, warranting 
lands in Tuscarora Township in 1767, four years after his death. 

f The Alexander Logan, whose death at the hands of the Indians 
is here described, was the owner of lands near Kistler, later long 
owned by the McMillens. 

County Citizens Recipients of Charity. 

When Perry Countains have been contributing to charity — to 
flood and famine sufferers everywhere, to India, France, Belgium, 
Armenia, the Harrisburg and other hospitals — little did many think- 
that in its provincial days, before it arose to the dignity of a "little 
commonwealth," its people were the objects of charity, owing to 
their being driven out by the Indians from their homes. Such, 
however, was the case. The refugees, who were in Carlisle, were 
relieved to some extent in their great distress by the generosity of 
the Episcopal churches of Philadelphia. On July 26, 1763, Rich- 
ard Peters, the rector of Christ church and St. Peters, in Phila- 
delphia (the same man who was secretary of the province), rep- 
resented to the vestry "that the back inhabitants of this province 
are reduced to great distress and necessity, by the present inva- 
sion" and proposed that some method be formed for collecting 
charily for their relief. A preamble was drawn up and a sub- 
scription paper started. At the next meeting the wardens reported 
that they had collected £662, 3s. Of course that amount of money 
needed systematic distribution and the Philadelphia congregations 
corresponded with persons in Cumberland to ascertain the extent 
(jf the distress. William Thomson, an itinerant missionary for 
the counties of York and Cumberland, and Francis West and 
Thomas Donellon, wardens of the Episcopal church at Carlisle, 
sent a reply in which, among other statements, is this : "We have 
taken pains to get the number of the distressed, and upon strict 
inquiry, we find seven hundred and fifty families have abandoned 
their plantations, the greatest number of which have lost their crops, 
some their stock and furniture, and besides, we are informed that 
there are about two hundred women and children coming down 
from Fort Pitt. We also find that sums of money lately sent up 
are almost expended, and that each family has not received twenty 

*See chapter on Tuscarora Township. 

fSee chapter on Madison Township and 011 "Frontier Forts.' 


shillings upon an average." The letter also tells of the great dis- 
tress and says that smallpox and flux are raging among the home- 
less. Upwards of two hundred of these families were in Carlisle 
and the remainder in Shippenshurg, Littlestown, York and other 
places. However, it must be remembered that they were not all 
from Perry County territory, but from what is now Fulton, 
Franklin, Bedford and farther west, as well as from the outlying 
districts of Cumberland County itself. 

In recounting the result of this report and appeal Rev. Dorr, in 
his Historical Account of Christ and St. Peters' Church, says: 

"In consequence of this information, a large supply of flour, rice, medi- 
cine, and other necessaries, were immediately forwarded for the relief of 
the sufferers. And to enable those, who chose to return to their planta- 
tions, to defend themselves against future attacks of the Indians, the 
vestry of Christ church and St. Peters were of opinion that the refugees 
should be furnished with two chests of arms, and half a barrel of powder, 
four hundred pounds of lead, two hundred of swan shot, and one thou- 
sand flints. These were accordingly sent with instructions to sell them to 
prudent and good people as are in want of them, and will use them for 
their defense, for the prices charged in the invoice." 

Pioneer Runners. 

During these trying periods the pioneers employed men who 
were dispatched as runners to give settlers notice of impending 
danger. They were accustomed to hunting, immune to hardships 
and with a thorough knowledge of the country. There were thirty 
in the territory west of the Susquehanna and south of the Juniata 
to the Allegheny Mountains. They were a lot of intrepid, resolute 
fellows, on the order of our present admirable troops of State 
Constabulary, and were in the command of a man who had been a 
captive of the Indians for several years and knew their traits, but 
whose name unfortunately fails to be recorded. According to 
Votes of the Assembly, Sept. 17, 1763, the Colonial legislators 
were appealed to for assistance in retaining this body of scouts in 

The terror of the citizens subsided but little until Colonel Bou- 
quet conquered the Indians in 1764 and compelled them to solicit 
peace. A condition of the peace terms was that the Indians were 
to give up all the women and children which they held in captivity. 
Among them were many who had been seized as mere children and 
had grown up among the savages, learning their language and for- 
getting their own. Their affections were even with the savages. 
Some mothers found lost children but others were unable to iden- 
tify theirs. The separation between the Indians and the captives 
was heart-rending, the red men shedding many tears and the cap- 
tives leaving reluctantly. Many of these captives later voluntarily 
rejoined the Indians. Some had married Indians, but from choice, 


records tell us. A girl who had been captured at the age of four- 
teen and had married an Indian and was the mother of several 
children, said: "Can I enter my parents' dwelling? Will they be 
kind to my children ? Will my old companions associate with the 
wife of an Indian chief? Will I desert my husband, who has been 
kind?" During the night she fled to her husband and children. 

A great many of these prisoners were brought to Carlisle, among 
them the captives from Perry County. Colonel Bouquet advertised 
for those who had lost children to come and look for them. 
Among those who came was an old lady who had lost a child many 
years before, but she was unable to identify her. With a break- 
ing heart the old lady told Colonel Bouquet her sad story, relating 
how she used to sing to the little one a hymn of which the child 
was so fond. The colonel requested her to sing it then, in the 
presence of the captives, and she did, the words being: 

'Alone, yet not alone am I, 

Though in this solitude so drear ; 
I feel my Saviour always nigh, 

He comes my every hour to cheer." 

As the sweet voice of the mother so beautifully sang the words, 
from among the captives sprang a young girl and rushed into her 
mother's arms. 

During the time of the French and Indian War, 1756-61, the 
world was largely at war. The ships of France and England even 
carried it to the great high seas. 

Capture; and Release of Frederick Stump. 

In January. 1768, a party of Indians visited a pioneer, Frederick 
Stump, later known as the "Indian killer," at his cabin on Middle 
Creek (now in Snyder County), and differences arising, he 
and his employe, named Ironcutter, killed the Indians and also 
those at a cabin four miles distant, so that the news would not 
reach the Indian settlements. The bodies were thrown into the 
creek and floated down it to the Susquehanna; one was found 
along the shore near what is now New Cumberland, Pa., then 
below Harris' Ferry. It was interred by James Galbraith and 
Jonathon Hoge, who reported it to John Penn, then provincial 
governor. One William Blythe traveled to Philadelphia and under 
oath stated that he had seen Stump at the home of George Gabriel 
and heard his story, in which he admitted the murders. 

Penn issued a proclamation offering a reward for Stump and 
Ironcutter, promising to punish them with death and notifying the 
Indians of what he had done. Sir William Johnson sent an ur- 
gent message to the Indians, saying, "If they know any of the 
relatives of these persons murdered at Middle Creek, to send them 


to him, that he might wipe the tears from their eyes, comfort their 
afflicted hearts and satisfy them on account of their grievances." 
As soon as Capt. William Patterson, formerly of Lancaster 
County, but then residing on the Juniata, heard of the murders he- 
went, without waiting orders of the authorities, with a party of 
nineteen men, and arrested Stump and Ironcutter, and delivered 
them to John Holmes, the sheriff, at Carlisle. Aware that the 
Indians would be exasperated at hearing of the murders he sent a 
messenger to the west branch country to them, telling of the arrest. 
As the messages and replies are of much historical interest they 
are reproduced in full. First, his official report: 

Carlisle, January 23, 1768. 

Sir: The 21st instant, I marched a party of nineteen men to George 
Gabriel's house, at Penn's Creek mouth, and made prisoners of Frederick 
Stump and John Ironcutter, who were suspected to having murdered ten 
of our friend Indians near Augusta; and I have this day delivered them 
to Mr. Holmes at Carlisle jail. 

Yesterday I sent a person to the Great Island, that understood the In- 
dian language, with a talk; a copy of which is enclosed. 

Myself and party were exposed to great danger, by the desperate re- 
sistance made by Stump and his friends, who sided with him. The steps 
I have taken, I flatter myself, will not be disapproved of by the gentle- 
men in the government; my sole view being directed to the service of 
the frontiers, before I heard his honor the governor's orders. The mes- 
sage I sent to the Indians I hope will not be deemed assuming an author- 
ity of my own, as you are very sensible I am no stranger to the Indians, 
or their customs. I am, with respect, 

Your most obedient humble servant, 

W. Patterson. 

The message to the Six Nations, in the west branch country : 

Juniata, January 22, 1768. 

Brothers of the Six Nations, Delawares, and other inhabitants of the 
West Branch of Susquehanna, hear what I have to say to you : 

With a heart swelled with grief, I have to inform you that Frederick 
Stump and John Ironcutter hath, unadvisedly, murdered ten of our friend 
Indians near Fort Augusta. The inhabitants of the province of Pennsyl- 
vania do disapprove of the said Stump and Ironcutter's conduct; and as 
proof thereof, I have taken them prisoners, and will deliver them into the 
custody of officers, that will keep them ironed in prison for trial ; and I 
make no doubt, as many of them as are guilty, will be condemned, and die 
for the offence. 

Brothers, I being truly sensible of the injury done you, I only add these 
few words, with my heart's wish, that you may not rashly let go the fast 
hold of our chain of friendship, for the ill-conduct of one of our bad 
men. Believe me, brothers, we Englishmen, continue the same love for 
you that hath usually subsisted between our grandfathers, and I desire 
you to call at Fort Augusta, to trade with our people, for the necessaries 
you stand in need of. I pledge you my word, that no white man there 
shall molest any of you, while you behave as friends. I shall not rest by 
night nor day until I receive your answer. 

Your friend and brother, 

W. Patterson. 


The following answer to the above was received from the In- 
dians : 

February nth, 1768. 

Loving Brother: I received your speech by Gertham Hicks, and have 
sent one of my relatives with a string of wampum, and the following 
answer : 

Loving Brother: I am glad to hear from you. I understand that you 
are very much grieved, and that the tears run from your eyes. With both 
my hands I now wipe away those tears ; and as I don't doubt but your 
heart is disturbed, I remove all the sorrow from it, and make it easy, as 
it was before. I will now sit down and smoke my pipe. I have taken 
fast hold of the chain of friendship; and when I give it a pull, if I find 
my brothers, the English, have let it go, it will then be time for me to let 
go too, and take care of my family. There are four of my relatives 
murdered by Stump ; and all I desire is, that he may suffer for his wicked 
action ; I shall then think that people have the same goodness in their 
hearts as formerly, and intend to keep it there. As it was the evil spirit 
that caused Stump to commit this bad action, I blame none of my brothers, 
the English, but him. 

I desire that the people of Juniata may sit still in their places, and not 
put themselves to any hardships, by leaving their habitations; whenever 
danger is coming, they shall know it before it comes to them. 

I am, your loving brother, 

Shawana Ben. 

To Capt. William Patterson.* 

The governor's proclamation offered £200 for Stump's appre- 
hension, but not knowing of his arrest, delayed the publication for 
a short period, lest news of it should reach him, and in order to 
accomplish his arrest in a more secretive manner. 

The council of the province advised Governor Penn to write to 
General Gage and Sir William Johnson, informing them of the 
murder and of the steps he was taking, and to ask Sir William to 
communicate the same to the Six Nations, as soon as possible, 
"in the best and most favorable manner in his power, so as to 
prevent their taking immediate resentment for this unavoidable 
injury, committed on their people, and to assure them of the firm 
and sincere purposes of this government to give them full satis- 
faction at all times for all wrongs done to the Indians, and to pre- 
serve the friendship subsisting between us and them inviolable." 

But before these letters and the proclamation of Chief Justice 
Allen reached the magistrates and sheriffs, Stump and Ironcutter 
as previously stated, had been lodged in jail ; however, before 
they were brought to trial they were rescued from prison. 

As white settlers had from time to time been scalped in Perry 
County territory there was a certain sympathy went out to Stump 
and Ironcutter with the result that on January 29, 1768, a party 
of seventy or eighty armed men, supposed to be mostly from 
Sherman's Valley, appeared at the Carlisle jail and overpowered 

*Provincial Records. 



the sheriff, John Holmes, and the jailer and released the two pris- 
oners, who until that time had been kept in the dungeon. A half 
dozen prominent citizens who hastily appeared to aid the sheriff 
included Ephraim Blaine, who was formerly a Toboyne Township 
citizen and of whose later prominence this book elsewhere goes 
into detail. 

While this murder and the subsequent rescue did not happen on 
Perry County soil, yet they are dwelt on at some length here owing 
to the fact that the greater part of the rescuers were supposed to 
be from Sherman's Valley. Owing to possible complications with 
the Indians the murders by Stump and Ironcutter and their sub- 
sequent delivery from jail produced a great wave of excitement 
in the entire colony. Governor John Penn cited the officers and 
magistrates to appear before him, reprimanding the latter for their 
conduct in advising the retention of the prisoners at Carlisle in- 
stead of delivering them to Philadelphia, as required by the war- 
rant. Tradition implies that the sheriff and jailer were passive 
actors in this jail delivery. 

Exploits of Captain Jack. 

There are traditionary tales connected with "Captain Jack" and 
his operations in Perry County, but as county lines in those days 
were not in existence, his exploits may properly belong to the whole 
Juniata and Cumberland Valleys. He was a white man. but was 
variously termed the "black hunter," the "black rifle." the "wild 
hunter of the Juniata." the "black hunter of the forest," but prin- 
cipally "Captain Jack." His real name was Patrick Jack, in all 
probability. He entered the forest section of Pennsylvania, some- 
where in the Juniata Valley, with a few companions, built a cabin, 
cleared a little land and made his living by hunting and fishing, 
not having a care. He was a free and easy, happy-go-lucky type 
of man until one evening in 1752, when he returned from a day 
in the woods to find his cabin burned, his wife and children mur- 
dered. From that moment for over a year he forsook civilization, 
lived in caves, protected the frontier settlers from the Indians and 
seized every opportunity for revenge that presented itself. He 
was the terror of the Indians and the guardian angel of the pio- 
neers. On an occasion, near Juniata — the name of the Indian 
town on Duncan's Island, opposite the west end of Duncannon — ■ 
about midnight on a dark night, a family was suddenly awakened 
by the report of a gun. Jumping from their cots they saw an 
Indian fall to rise no more. The open door exposed to view the 
"wild hunter," who called, "I saved yonr lives," and vanished into 
darkness. He never shot foolishly and his keenness of vision was 
as unerring as his aim. He formed an association to defend the 
settlers against savage aggressions. On a given signal they would 


unite. During 1756 his exploits were often heard of from the 
Conococheague in Franklin County, to the Juniata River. To 
some he was known as the "Half-Indian," and Colonel Armstrong, 
in a letter to the governor, said : "The company under the com- 
mand of the Half-Indian, having left the Great Cove, the Indians 
took advantage and murdered many." Through Colonel Croghan 
— for George Croghan had been made a colonel — he also proffered 
his aid to Braddock. "He will march with his hunters," says the 
colonel, adding, as a further description, "they are dressed in hunt- 
ing shirts, moccasins, &c, are well armed and are equally regard- 
less of heat and cold. They require no shelter for the night — they 
ask no pay." As Captain Jack wanted to go free of the restraint 
of camp life and army regulations General Braddock refused his 
services. Braddock was a strict disciplinarian and despised the 
Indian method of fighting. He wanted to attain a signal victory 
over the French without using those methods or the help of others 
who used them. However, he had already accepted a company of 
Indians under Captain George Croghan. He never lived to dis- 
cover his error in refusing Captain Jack's services or the fact that 
the Indian method of fighting excelled that of marching in the 
open, clad in gaudy uniforms, with drums beating and banners 
flying. There is no doubt that among Captain Jack's daring men 
were some whose homes were within the confines of what is now 
Perry County. 

While some historians give his name to Jack's Mountain, in the 
Juniata Valley, John Harris says the mountain was named after 
Jack Armstrong, who was murdered at its base by the Indians. 
The latter is probably the truth, as Captain Jack's activities were 
principally 1 in the territory now known as Perry and Franklin 

There is evidence of Captain Jack once owning property, the 
location being described as "on back Crike, Joning Matthew 
Arthor's pleas, operward of ye sad Creek," in Antrim Township, 
later Franklin County. In 1748 this property passed from John 
Ward to Matthew Arther, who owned the adjoining place. In 
November, 1767, Arther sold it to Patrick Jack, same being re- 
corded in Book C, Volume 1, at the Cumberland County court- 

An early writer, in referring to Doubling Gap, located on the 
Blue or Kittatinny Mountain, further clinches the fact that the 
Sherman's Valley was one of the principal scenes of the activities 
of Captain Jack. It follows: "The place for many miles around 
is invested with many historical facts and legends connected with 
the early settlements of the country. It was in the adjoining valley 
(Sherman's) and on these mountains that Big Beaver, a chief of 
the Shoshones, with his tribe, in 1752 and for years before had 


their hunting grounds, having been driven in 1677 from Caro- 
lina and Georgia. This valley (Sherman's) was the grave of many 
of his children and the scene of many a massacre. It was where 
the far-famed and many-named Captain Jack — the Black Rifle, 
the Wild Hunter, etc. — entered the woods, built his cabin and 
cleared a little patch of land within sight of a spring and amused 
himself with hunting and fishing." 

Some authorities credit Captain Jack's real name as being Joseph 
Ager, or Aiger, who settled in Cumberland County in 1851, but 
the writer is inclined, after careful research, to believe that he 
was no other than Patrick Jack. However, the actual establish- 
ment of his real name and his early history must forever remain 
an un fathomed mystery. Of Herculean proportions and of 
swarthy complexion he was supposed by some to have been a 
half-breed. Colonel Armstrong, in a letter to the governor, terms 
him "the Half-Indian." Others term him a white man with a 
past. The following, from Hanna's "The Wilderness Trail," is 
self explanatory: "Captain William Patterson, who lived on Tus- 
carora Creek, was a bold, resourceful, frontiersman and Indian 
fighter, whose exploits, with those of his father, furnished much 
of the material for the legendary history of the fictitious 'Captain 
Jack,' the Wild Hunter of the Juniata." That much of the his- 
tory of Captain Jack is lengendary is true, but that he was a 
fictitious character only is disproved by the previous pages, the ex- 
tracts being from provincial history and records. 

In the possession of Miss Margaret D. McClure, of Bradford, 
a daughter of William McClure, one of Perry County's noted 
sons, are two old documents left by her father, which also show 
that Captain Jack was very real. They follow : 

The 2nd Battalion, Penna. Regiment, commanded by 
Lt. Colonel Clayton, Camp Fort Loudon, August 16, 1764. 
John Morrison, Soldier in Colonel Clayton's Company, discharged by 
Dr. Plunkett's orders from any furtber service in the above Regiment. 
Given under my hand this Patrick Jack, 

day, 16th August, 1764. Capt. Lieut. 

These are to certify: 

That the three Marching Companies from the Second Battalion met at 
Studler's Mill upon the 15th of this m. and proceeded to elect a Major, 
when it appeared upon summing of the Poll that Capt. Patrick Jack and 
Elias Davison, 1st Lieut., had each of them eighty-two votes. 
August 22, 1776, By Theo. McPherrin, 

Fort Conococheague. One of the judges of the election. 

They throw further light on the length of his services, as the 
first shows service as early as 1764 and the last as late as 1776. 


Forts in and Near the County. 

The horrible atrocities which occurred during the summer and 
fall of 1755 almost depopulated the lands which now comprise 
Perry County, as well as others, and the provincial authorities took 
steps to allay fear and safeguard the pioneers by a line of forts 
extending from the Delaware River across the province to the 
Maryland line and at other outlying places. George Croghan was 
commissioned to select the site of three, in Cumberland County, 
which were located as follows: Fort Granville, in present Mifflin 
County; Patterson's, in present Juniata County, and at Sideling 
Hill, now in Bedford County. 

Among the forts mentioned in provincial history is Fort Au- 
gusta, built by Colonel Clapham's regiment, which was located 
where the present town of Sunbury stands. Joseph Greenwood — 
after whom Greenwood Township was named later — and George 
Gabriel acted as guides for the regiment of soldiers which Colonel 
Clapham was conducting to Fort Augusta, as their signatures to 
an affidavit dated June 2, 1756, verifies. On account of the better 
trail the movement of troops was conducted up the Perry County 
side. A member of this regiment was Ensign Samuel Miles, who 
twenty years later was a colonel commanding a Continental regi- 
ment in the army under Washington. In a journal kept by him 
he tells of this early trip up the west side of the Susquehanna to 
the site of Sunbury. 

Fort Robinson was built by the members of that brave and in- 
trepid family by the name of Robinson, resolute woodsmen inured 
to hardship, toil and danger, and their neighbors who inhabited 
Sherman's Valley, as a place of refuge from Indian attack. 
It was a log fort, surrounded by a stockade. It occupied a site 
on the present Edward R. Loy farm, near Centre Church, being 
located on a tableland with a good view of the surrounding coun- 
try. At its edge was a bluff, the shelter of which was sought in 
escaping to the fort. The lowlands below were heavily wooded 
with large oak and maple, which also afforded protection in going 
to the fort. A spring was located at the foot of the bluff where 
water was secured with the least exposure, the distance from the 
stockade being only the steep bank — probably twenty feet. It was 
not under provincial control, at least there are no records to prove 
such fact. The Robinsons figured prominently in pioneer life. 
A brother of George Robinson, who located the fort and stockade 
was a member of Colonel Armstrong's expedition to Kittanning. 
George Robinson warranted the tract on which the fort was lo- 
cated, the fort being built in 1755. The fort was evidently in the 
nature of a block house, surrounded by a stockade built of heavy 
planks or poles. It was located along the famous Allegheny or 


Traders' Path and was the only source of protection for the trav- 
eler along the Allegheny Path between the Kittatinny or Blue 
Mountain and the Tuscarora. There are no traces of the pioneer 
battlements, nothing to indicate the part played by these hardy 
pioneers in the struggle for settlement and civilization. 

While called a fort it would probably have come under the 
term of stockade. The stockades of that period were practically 
all of one style. They consisted of oak logs, about seventeen feet 
long, set in a ditch four feet deep, the logs being usually about a 
foot in diameter. Around the inside was erected a platform of 
logs about four or five feet from the ground, upon which the pio- 
neers stood and aimed their guns trough port holes made in the 
logs. This additional elevation gave them a considerable advan- 
tage in reconnoitering the surrounding country. 

Speaking of the Fort Robinson site "Frontier Forts of Penn- 
sylvania" queries, "Could there be a place in our commonwealth 
more worthy of the fostering care of her people?" Working along 
that line during 1920, the centenary of Perry County's organiza- 
tion, the author of this volume took up with the State Historical 
Commission the advisability of marking the site with a proper 
stone and inscription, with the result that that Commission will 
agree to have the bronze inscriptions placed upon a native boulder 
(as being appropriate to pioneer life) if some local organization 
will agree to arrange for its future care. Plans are now under 
way for its consummation and within another year this historic 
site will probably be marked for all time. 

In a list of provincial forts prepared by Jay Gilfillen Weiser, 
of Middleburg, in 1894, and published in "Frontier Forts of 
Pennsylvania," the only fort credited to Perry County is Hen- 
drick's, built in 1770. This is an error, as Hendrick's fort was 
located in what is now Snyder County. 

On a map which appears in "Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania," 
showing the disposition of the provincial troops in the Western 
District for the winter season of 1764, in the territory which now 
comprises Perry County, are located two detachments, one marked 
"A. Grove's, an officer and 20 men," and the other, "Fisher's an 
officer and 20 men." The location marked drove's is near the 
centre of western Perry, vicinity of Fort Robinson, and Fisher's, 
approximately where the county seat is located. 

While Fort Halifax is in Dauphin County, it is to be noted 
here that it was. with the exception of Fort Hunter, the only fort 
really built by the province along any border of the present county 
of Perry, Fort Robinson being built by the pioneers themselves, 
according to the only records available. Fort Halifax stood a half 
mile above where the present town of Halifax now stands, and was 
garrisoned with provincial troops. Commissary General Young, 


in a report to the governor and council, said that "Fort Halifax 
was in a very bad location, being built beyond two ranges of hills 
and nobody living near it, none could be protected by it ; that it 
is no station for batteaux parties, having no command of the chan- 
nel, which runs close to the western shore, and is besides, covered 
with a large island (Clemson's) between the channel and the fort, 
so that numbers of the enemy may, even in daytime, run the 
river, without being seen by that garrison, and that though the fort, 
or blockhouse at Hunter's was not tenable, being hastily erected 
and not finished, yet the situation was the best upon the river for 
every service, as well as for the protection of the frontiers." 

The purpose of the construction of Fort Halifax at that location 
is uncertain, as records show that but two families resided any- 
where in the vicinity, and the river channel was on the opposite 
side, with the Clemson Island between. In all probability it was 
erected as a convenient and safe place to lodge during the two- 
day trip from Fort Hunter to Fort Augusta, which was located 
where Sunbury now stands. It was dismantled and abandoned in 
1763. Clemson's Island, lying in the river opposite the fort, was 
the home of a considerable number of Indians, who could easily 
have annihilated a large party. 

Fort Hunter was a provincial fort located opposite the site of 
the present town of Marysville, on a small promontory, where 
Fishing Creek enters the Susquehanna River, on the eastern side. 
It is in Dauphin County and one of the two provincial forts 
erected along the county's border. The property is now, or was 
lately, in the possession of John Reilly. Its location, described in 
provincial records as being "where the Blue Hills cross the Sus- 
quehanna," gave it command of the passage through this water 
gap and of the river itself, affording a place of rendezvous for the 
batteaux which carried supplies to Fort Halifax and Fort Augusta 
at Shamokin (now Sunbury). It was a blockhouse, surrounded 
by a stockade, and occupied the site of the present Reilly mansion. 
It was erected about 1755, as it is spoken of in official records as 
early as January 10, 1756, as "the fort at Hunter's mill." Its 
location was at a very romantic spot, noted for its picturesque 
outlook. In 1 8 14 Archibald McAllister erected a large storage 
house upon its ancient foundations. Not far above the site are 
the famous "Hunter's Falls," where the river narrows to pass 
through a gap and where its waters are deep and swift, as they 
rush over immense ledges of rock which the waters of the cen- 
turies have failed to yet wear away. 

Fort Bigham, a strong blockhouse, surrounded by a small stock- 
ade, commanded Bighanrs Gap on the Juniata County side, through 
which lay the famous Allegheny Path to the West. It was on the 
"plantation" of Samuel Bigham, a Scotch-Irish settler who had 


located in the Tuscarora Valley in 1754. With Bigham came fohn 
and James Gray and Robert Hoag, who joined in the erection of 

the fort as' a place of refuge. Other settlers used it also until 
June, 1756, when it was attacked and burned by the Indians, who 
killed or took prisoner all who had sought refuge therein, the total 
being twenty-three persons. It was rebuilt in 1760 by Ralph Ster- 
rett, described by Jones, in his History of the Juniata Valley, as 
"an old Indian trader." In this fort his first child, William Ster- 
rett, was born. It is related of Sterrett that upon an occasion an 
Indian tired and hungry, passing his way, was invited in and 
given a meal and tobacco. He had even forgotten the occurrence 
when, in 1763, the Indians again being on the warpath, he heard 
a noise and looking out saw an Indian in the moonlight. He 
coolly demanded his business, when the Indian recalled the hos- 
pitality and stated that the Indians were as plenty as the pigeons 
in the woods and before another night they would be at Fort 
Bigham to scalp and kill. Nearly all the settlers of the valley 
were in the fort and were awe-stricken. They immediately began 
preparations and long before daybreak a train of pack horses, 
carrying them and their belongings was crossing Perry County 
soil, via the Allegheny Path, to Carlisle. 

Until recent years there stood on the Preston A. McMillen 
farm, about a mile northeast of Kistler, in northeast Madison 
Township, a log building which had been used both as a residence 
and as a fort. Families by the name of Logan had taken up these 
lands, which included the farms now owned by Lucian McMillen, 
Linn J. McMillen, and Preston A. McMillen. On this latter 
property this building was erected for both a residence and the 
protection of the surrounding families. Some logs from the build- 
ing were used for the construction of the McMillen barn and are 
pointed out to the inquirer. It was on the nature of a blockhouse. 
The property on which the fort was erected is now in the hands 
of the fifth generation of McMillens, one of Perry County's sub- 
stantial families. As fast as possible the Indians replaced their 
bows and arrows with firearms and the residents of these farms 
frequently had to seek shelter from the redskins. On one occa- 
sion a hog had been killed and was being prepared for use in the 
cellar when an attack was made and a bullet struck above the cellar 
door, imbedding itself five and one-half inches in a walnut log. 
-Many people yet living saw this log when a part of the old build- 
ing. The marks of other bullets could be plainly seen. When 
things got too serious the settlers would flee to the mountains, all 
wooded, and escape to Carlisle. The logs were hewed on both 
sides, some of them being almost two feet in width. In an In- 
dian account of Robert Robinson, elsewhere, he tells of a Captain 
Dunning seeking Indians and coming to a certain house (Alex- 


ander Logan's) after the fight on Buffalo Creek. This old block- 
house was Logan's home. A favorite pastime of the McMillens 
of a century ago was "digging" bullets from these old logs. 

Where the Tressler Memorial Lutheran church at Loysville now 
stands once stood a log cabin equipped like a blockhouse, the rear 
room being without windows and having portholes. This prop- 
erty was later owned by John Kistler, father of Rev. Kistler, who 
was a missionary to India about i860. 

While there is no official record of there having been a fort at 
New Buffalo during the early settlements, yet, according to old 
records Henry Meiser, of what is now Snyder County, put his 
children in chaff bags and escaped to New Buffalo, where there 
was a temporary fort for refuge. Evidently Fort Halifax — oppo- 
site New Buffalo — was referred to. 

Some of the earlier homes were equipped with portholes, for 
use in case of an Indian attack. One of these was the house on 
the Thomas Adams farm, near New Germantown, in Toboyne 
Township, now owned by Milo N. W'illhide, its location being 
just south of Sherman's Creek. 

That those daring provincials located at these forts were kept 
busy is attested by their many reports which are a part of the 
Pennsylvania Archives. A letter from Capt. James Patterson, 
commandant at Fort Hunter, dated January 10, 1758, and ad- 
dressed to "the Honorable William Deney, Esq'r, Governour and 
Commander in Chief of the Province of Pennsylvania," follows: 

"Fort Hunter, Jan'ry ye 10th, 1758. 

"I took with me 19 men & ranged from this Fort as far as Robinson's 
Fort, where I lodged, keeping a guard of six men & one Corporal on 
Gentry that night. The sixth day I marched towards Hunter's Fort, 
ranging along the mountain foot very diligently till I came to the Fort 
that evening, my men being so afflicted with sickness ; I could not send 
out till the eighth day, Lieu't Allen, with 14 men, went to Range for three 
days. On the 12th day Lieu't Allen, with Eighteen men & one Serjeant 
ranged along the mountain about 14 miles from this Fort, where he met 
Cap't Lieu't Weiser with his party & returned back towards this Fort the 
next day & came to it that night. The fifteenth, Lieu't Allen, with 18 men, 
kept along the Frontier till the 25th & came to this Fort that night. 

"Hearing of Indians harbouring about Juniatta, on the 28th of De- 
cember, I took 15 men with me up the Creek, and about 14 miles from 
the mouth of it I found fresh tracks of Indians on both sides of the 
Creek & followed the tracks about four miles up the said Creek, where I 
lost the tracks, but I still kept up the Creek 'till I gott up about 25 miles 
from the mouth of said Creek, where I encamped that night. The In- 
dians I found were round me all night, for my Dogg made several 
attacks towards the Woods as if he saw the Enemy and still run back to 
the Centry. On the 3d of January I returned down the Creek in some 
Canoes that I found on said Creek, and when I came about nine miles 
down I espied about 20 Indians on the opposite side of the Creek to where 
I was. They seemed to gett themselves in order to fire upon the men that 
were in Canoes. I immediately ordered them all out but two men that 


let the Canoes float close under the shore, and kept the Land in readiness 
to fire upon the Enemy, as soon as they moved out of the place where 
they lay in Ambush, but I could see no more of them. On the 5th day 
of January I came to this Fort." 

It will be noted that Captain Patterson terms the Juniata, "the 
Creek." Fourteen miles from the month of it, where he foimd the 
Indian tracks, would have been at the vicinity where Buffalo 
Creek empties into the Juniata, above Newport. Having gone up 
twenty-five miles from its mouth and returned nine he saw twenty 
Indians. That point was probably in the vicinity of Old Ferry, 
midway between Newport and Millerstown, but of course there 
is no way of telling the exact locations, they probably varying a 
mile or two either way. 

These provincials were kept very busy by the duties of their 
position ; but, with the success of the British arms, the scene of 
action shifted, during 1758, and until Pontiac's war in 1763, this 
pioneer garrison had little to do. 


IN that section of Perry County lying between the Juniata and 
Susquehanna Rivers and along the banks of the latter there is 
a mountain promontory below Montgomery's Ferry, almost 
jutting to the river's edge, which bears to this day the name of 
"Girty's Notch," said to have been named after Simon Girty, the 
renegade, who betrayed his own race to join the redskins and 
later the British. It is in Watts Township, almost on the Buffalo 
Township line and along the Susquehanna Trail — the state high- 
way to the north. On approaching this promontory from the 
northeast there can be seen, half-way up the craggy rocks, the face 
of a man — albeit an Indian — the outline of which no sculptor could 
improve, put there by the Great Creator of the universe and which 
tradition would have us believe is the counterpart of the Girty 

There is record of the elder Simon Girty's once being a prop- 
erty owner, but not here. In 1743 he cleared a tract of thirty 
acres in Dauphin County, near the Susquehanna River, and made 
some improvements. He resided on this place several years. Be- 
coming indebted to Thomas McKee, the storekeeper, in a sum 
upwards of f300 the land subsequently came into the possession 
of McKee. 

The Alexander McKee, referred to in connection with Girty, 
the renegade, in the following pages, was a son of this Thomas 
McKee, the trader, who kept a store immediately below Peters' 
Mountain, in Dauphin County, opposite Allen's Cove. He was 
an Indian agent for the British government and became a pro- 
nounced tory. 

The activities of Simon Girty, the renegade, in the provincial 
affairs were of such magnitude that a brief account is not out of 
place here, especially as his father — also named Simon Girty — was 
one of the men ejected from Perry County soil prior to the lands 
being opened for settlement, mentioned at several places in this 
l)i 10k. 

Almost opposite Marysville, Perry County, there empties into 
the Susquehanna River a small stream known as Fishing Creek. 
A few hundred yards from its mouth, prior to 1730, several broth- 
ers by the name of Chambers erected a grist mill and the place 
came to be known as Chambers' Mill. It was the same family of 
Chambers which settled at Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in 1736, 




and gave their name to that town. During the French and Indian 
War a frontier fort was built at Chambers' Mill and was named 
Fort Hunter, a near-by village still bearing that name. It was 
also subsequently called McAllister's. Chambers' Mill was a set- 


During the Pioneer Period the name of Simon Girty, the Renegade, lie- 
came attached to this cliff, although nothing in Provincial Annals bears 
it out. Facing south on the Susquehanna Trail the face can be plainly 
seen upon the rocks, not far below Montgomery's Ferry. 

tlement of unsavory reputation and is spoken of as having had 
few, if any, rivals for wickedness in the province. Here Simon 
Girty, the elder, who was a middle aged man, had emigrated from 
the Emerald Isle, located and assumed the duties of a pack horse 
driver. After saving of his earnings to go into business on a small 


scale as a trader with the Indians, he married Mary Newton, an 
English girl. They became the parents of four boys, Thomas, 
born in 1739; Simon, with whom this story deals, born in 1741 ; 
James, born in 1743, and George, born in 1745. The name is vari- 
ously spelled, "Girty," "Girte," "Gerty," and sometimes "Girtee." 
In a list of traders licensed in 1747 Simon Girty, the elder, does 
not appear; in a list of traders unlicensed of the same date, it 
does appear. However, the list of 1748 contains his name among 
those licensed. 

The lands lying west of the Susquehanna River and north of the 
Kittatinny or Blue Mountain, which includes the present county of 
Perry, had not been opened to settlement yet, but nevertheless, 
by the spring of 1749 there were more than thirty families already 
located there. The sheriff of Lancaster County having authority 
over all the lands west of the Susquehanna except York County, 
three magistrates and a provincial agent were sent to what is now 
Perry County soil to warn the people to leave immediately. Little 
heed was given to their words and others also went in and located. 
Among these was Simon Girty, in 1749, with his wife and little 
brood, settling on Sherman's Creek, but their career there was 
suddenly terminated, as eight provincials appointed by the consti- 
tuted authorities, accompanied by a deputy sheriff of the new- 
county of Cumberland, proceeded to carry out by force the desires 
of the Indians and the commands of the authorities. After burn- 
ing five cabins of settlers near the Juniata they proceeded to Sher- 
man's Creek, where Girty and nine other trespassers were found. 
Each had settled on a separate tract and had erected a cabin. 
These were also burned and the owners bound over to appear at 
Shippensburg, then the seat of justice of the new county, in the 
sum of one hundred pounds each. In view of the others having 
remained when notified to leave during the previous year this oc- 
currence can hardly be viewed with great discredit to Girty. From 
here he went back to Chambers' Mill. 

Girty, the elder, was a drinking man of the "spree" type, and 
met his death at Chambers' Mill on one of these occasions. One 
story tells of a neighbor knocking him in the head and bearing off 
Mrs. Girty as a trophy of his prowess; another tells of a neighbor- 
hood difficulty in which Girty was the challenger to a duel and in 
which Iris antagonist put the sword through him, but both are only 
traditionary tales. Even Theodore Roosevelt, in his "Winning of 
the West," erroneously has him "tortured at the stake, toma- 
hawked finally by a papoose held up by its father for that pur- 
pose," doubtless confounding that circumstance with the one hap- 
pening at the death of Turner, the man who married Girty's 
widow and who was tortured at the stake at Kittanning, as de- 
scribed further on in this chapter. 


The facts, according to the Magazine of American History, are 
these: He was killed in a drunken revelry by an Indian known as 
"the fish," at his home in the latter part of 1751. His death must 
needs be avenged and the avenger in this case was John Turner, 
who made his home with Girty, who killed "the fish" and thereby 
fulfilled the theory of "an eye for an eye," etc. Turner's reward 
came later, when, early in 1753, at Paxtang he was united in mar- 
riage to Mrs. Girty, described as a woman of unblemished char- 

In 1756, Turner, his wife and the four Girty boys, for their 
better protection, were in the fort known as Fort Granville, lo- 
cated near the present town of Lewistown, Pennsylvania, where 
Turner was a second lieutenant. On July 22 a band of over a 
hundred Indians and twenty-three Frenchmen from Fort Duquesne 
arrived at the fort and challenged its occupants to combat, which 
was declined by the commander, Captain Edward Ward. All of 
Ward's men were provincials in the pay of Pennsylvania. Not 
far away Sherman's Valley, comprising practically all of western 
Perry County, was depopulated by reason of the Indian massacres 
and expeditions, yet much grain had been sown and was now ripe 
with no reapers to venture forth without protection. Captain 
Ward determined to guard the harvesters and took all his men 
save twenty-three to Sherman's Valley, thinking the French and 
the Indians had gone. 

In this he was mistaken, as they were only abiding their time. 
On the very day in which he marched, they began a furious at- 
tack and by a feint, entrance was gained through a ravine to 
within thirty or forty feet of the fort. The lieutenant in charge, 
Edward Armstrong, and a private were killed, three wounded and 
the fort set on fire. The enemy then offered quarter if they would 
surrender and Turner, then in charge, opened the gates. The fort 
was consumed in the flames and all were taken prisoners, including 
Turner, his wife and the four Girty boys. Simon Girty was then 
fifteen years old. The fort was sacked before its fall and the 
prisoners were compelled to lug the loot to the limit of their en- 
durance. Tradition says Turner's share was a hundred pounds of 
salt. The trip was over the Allegheny Mountains to Kittanning, 
where there was an Indian village from which this band of In- 
dians were largely recruited. 

Turner, tradition says, — and it is only tradition, — was recog- 
nized as the man who had slain "the fish" (who was the murderer 
of the elder Girty) at Chambers' Mill and his doom was sealed. 
Be that as it may, the evidence and records of his execution are 
-more than tradition. "They tied him to a black post, danced 
around him, made a great fire and, having heated them red-hot, 
ran gun barrels through his body. Having tormented him for 


three hours, they scalped him alive, and at last held up a boy with 
a hatchet in his hand to give the finishing stroke," says Gordon in 
his History of Pennsylvania. His wife sat on a log near by with 
their young son and with the four Girty boys, compulsory be- 
holders of the horrible affair. 

The family was shortly broken up, never to be reunited. 
Simon was turned over to the Senecas, one of the Six Nations, 
and speedily learned their language. James was given to the 
Shawnees and George to the Delawares, all being adopted. The 
other brother, Thomas, had been recaptured by the whites in an 
attack upon Kittanning, within forty days of his first captivity. 
The Dalawares and the Shawnees, notwithstanding the fact that 
the Indians had made a treaty of peace with the English at Easton 
in 1757, remained hostile along the Ohio. During the autumn of 
1858, however, they sent their representatives to Easton, Penn- 
sylvania, and too formed a treaty of peace. As a result all white 
prisoners were delivered up at Pittsburgh, and among them were 
the three Girty boys, their mother ( Mrs. Turner) and her young 
son, John Turner. 

Having lived the wild life of the red men for some time the 
boys were rough and crude and now almost grown into young 
manhood. Their location at Pittsburgh placed them among a 
rough and uncouth element, as it was a mere trading post and 
frontier fort with the attending influences. The principal business 
was trading with the Indians and the linguistic ability of these 
boys, Simon being but eighteen and his brothers younger, made 
their services invaluable, for collectively they could speak the lan- 
guages of three different Indian nations. Simon, who had been 
with the Senecas, now became popular with the Delawares, took 
up their language, and in a short time could speak it fluently. One 
of the principal Delaware warriors — Katepakomen — liked him so 
well that he assumed his name. The capture of this Indian pre- 
tender, "Simon Girty," by Colonel Henry Bouquet in 1764, when 
he marched with his men west of the Ohio, is responsible for con- 
flicting historical accounts, many of which assume that it was the 
real Simon Girty. 

Simon, and perchance his brothers also, became popular among 
a certain class of the white population surrounding the post and 
an incident of historical preservation is that he voted at the first 
election ( i//i ) when Bedford was made a county, including 
practically all the territory of western Pennsylvania. Two years 
later (1773-) Westmoreland County was created, with the capital 
at Hannastown, about thirty-five miles east of Pittsburgh, and it 
then comprised all of these western Pennsylvania lands. The stu- 
dent of history will recollect how Pennsylvania and Virginia 
clashed for that territory, Pennsylvania contending that much of 


the land even along the Ohio belonged to the province, while Vir- 
ginia's contention was that that state owned even the location 
where Pittsburgh now stands and where the post was then located. 
In the same year Lord Dnnmore, governor of Virginia, visited 
the section and took measures for its being made a part of his 
.state. Simon Girty took sides with Virginia. At the October ses- 
sions of court of that year a warrant was issued for his arrest for 
a misdemeanor, the grand jury having found a true bill, but he 
escaped. Dr. John Conolly, of Pittsburgh, was the leader of the 
Virginians, who, with an armed force, assailed the court at Han- 
nastown and sent three of the justices to jail in Virginia. Penn- 
sylvania's champion was Arthur St. Clair, also of Pittsburgh, who 
caused Conolly's arrest and had him imprisoned at Hannastown. 

Not only the boundary troubles, but others threatened the new 
country. As the tide of emigration broke through the Alleghenies 
and rolled westward in a continuous stream towards the Ohio 
Valley the continuous conflict of the red and white races was again 
uppermost. Southwest of Pittsburgh the Shawnees and the Min- 
goes were on one side and the Virginians on the other. In this 
war Simon Girty was an active participant. Taking sides with 
Virginia in the boundary dispute when his own state was con- 
cerned, naturally he could easily do so then. When Lord Dun- 
more reached Pittsburgh with the northern branch of the Vir- 
ginia army Girty became his interpreter as well as a scottt. Dun- 
more had also with him several scouts whose frontier deeds made 
them famous, but of a type the opposite of Girty. The criticism 
of Roosevelt covering this phase in his "Winning of the West" 
is "At the moment he was serving Lord Dnnmore and the whites ; 
but he was by taste, habits and education a red man, who felt ill 
at ease among those of his own color." 

Lord Dunmore's war did not lessen the severity of the boundary 
dispute around Pittsburgh and Girty was made a second lieutenant 
on his retnrn from the expeditions against the Indians. The im- 
mediate effect of this was to give Virginia immunity from Indian 
troubles at the west and to give Pennsylvania resumption of its 
trade with the Indians. But the Revolutionary War was at hand 
and after the battle of Lexington patriotism west of the moun- 
tains put all else to rout and at conventions held at Pittsburgh and 
Hannastown practically everybody gave expressions to their senti- 
ments, among them being the supporters of Lord Dnnmore. who 
rallied to the Whigs, with a single exception or two, which did not 
include Girty. 

■ On May 1, 1776, he was appointed an interpreter by the Co- 
lonial government to interpret for the Six Nations at Pittsburgh, 
which practically meant for the Senecas. His wage was to be 


four-eights of a dollar per day. On August i it was found nec- 
essary to discharge him for ill behavior. 

He then exerted himself in getting recruits for the patriot army 
for which he expected a captain's commission. In this he failed, 
but was made a second lieutenant in Captain John Stephanson's 
company of one-year men. The company was sent to Charleston, 
hut for some reason he was not with them, hut on detached duty. 
Early in August (1776) he resigned his commission. He was then 
already plotting with the Indians. General Hand, on assuming 
charge of the military affairs at Pittsburgh, discovered that there 
was doubtful loyalty among some of the inhabitants. Alexander 
McKee, an influential trader who had come from that part of the 
province lying east of the mountains, being especially suspicioned. 
He and Girty were friends. He was paroled to the immediate 
vicinity. There was a movement on foot to murder all the Whigs 
and turn the government over to Hamilton, the lieutenant gover- 
nor, located at Detroit, and Girty was suspected of being in the 
plot and was arrested and confined in the guardhouse. He soon 
broke out, just to show that he could, but returned of his own 
accord and was imprisoned. Later he was examined by a magis- 
trate and acquitted. Being restored to confidence, during the fall 
he was sent to meet the Senecas, living on the upper waters of the 
Allegheny, who were supposed to be hostile to the United States. 
He would have been held by them as a spy but managed to escape. 

Finally from authentic reports it became known to General 
I land that Alexander McKee was making preparations to leave 
Pittsburgh to join the enemy. On December 29, 1777, he was 
ordered to York, Pennsylvania, there to answer orders of the Con- 
tinental Board of War, but the tory made excuses and was allowed 
to remain. On February 7, 177S, he was again officially ordered to 
York, but feigned illness and was permitted to remain. Mean- 
while he was secretly preparing to take as much of his property 
as was portable with him and at the earliest possible moment start 
for the Indian country on his way to Detroit. He had influenced 
Girty to join in the flight and on the night of March 28, 1778, 
McKee and his cousin, Robert Surphlit, together with Matthew 
Elliott, Simon Girty, a man named Higgins and two negroes be- 
longing to McKee departed for the Indian country and Detroit, 
traitors to the land of their birth. 

Many reasons are advanced for Girty's disaffection, but the per- 
suasion of McKee and Elliott certainly had much to do with ir. 
Farther than that all must be conjecture. Perchance its inception 
may have dated back to the burning of that cabin of his father by 
the provincial authorities along Sherman's Creek — now a part of 
Perry County — which, as a child he sat by and saw, but of which 
he did not comprehend the meaning. 


However, desertions to the enemy did not stop with the seven. 
( )thers were disaffected, including part of the garrison at Fort 
Pitt. On the night of April 20 a boat was stolen by some, who 
fled down the Ohio. They were overtaken at the Muskingum 
River by a party sent in pursuit and the ringleaders killed or cap- 
tured. Six soldiers and two civilians escaped. Of those taken 
two were shot, one hanged and two whipped, being given one 
hundred lashes each. Their leaving caused great consternation 
among the settlers, some! even wanting to desert their claims in 
fear of the Indians. John Proctor, of Westmoreland County, 
wrote to Thomas Wharton, president of the Supreme Executive 
Council of Pennsylvania, on April 26, as follows : "Captain Alex- 
ander McKee, with seven (six) other villains, is gone to the In- 
dians ; and since then there are a sergeant and twenty-odd men 
gone from Pittsburgh, of the soldiers. What may be the fate of 
this country, God only knows, but at present it wears a dismal 

Girty never possessed real estate, as sometimes stated, hence he 
left nothing behind. He could neither read nor write, so left no 
paper which could shed any light upon his actions. Up to the 
time of his desertion he was not quite so black as painted by many 
historians, as his connections with the provincial government will 
attest. True, he drank, gambled, associated with questionable 
people, yet he was not at that time "an inveterate drunkard," "an 
outlaw," "a redskin of the worst type," etc. Now, however, he 
became a renegade, a deserter and a traitor to his country — what 
a threefold record of infamy those words imply ! 

In all the American settlements west of the Allegheny Moun- 
tains watered by the Ohio and its tributaries, there were not to be 
found three other persons so well fitted as were McKee, Elliott 
and Girty to work upon the superstitions of the western Indians 
for evil to the patriot cause ; and General Hand feared the worst, 
thinking they had gone over to the Indians. He and Colonel 
Morgan at once prepared "addresses" and had them sent to the 
Delawares. Others fearing to carry the messages, John Hecke- 
welder and Joseph Bull, Moravian missionaries, offered to carry 
them to Coshocton. They were searching for the whereabouts of 
missionaries of their church who had gone into the Ohio valleys. 
They found the Delawares about to take up arms against the 
Americans. According to Heckewelder, the renegades had stopped 
at their town and told them that the patriot armies were cut to 
pieces, that General Washington was killed, that there was no 
more congress, that the English had hung some of the members 
and taken the remainder to England to hang them there, and that 
the few thousand Americans who had escaped the British soldiers 
were now busying themselves west of the mountains for the pur- 


pose of killing all the Indians beyond the Ohio — even the women 
and children. 

The renegades had left Coshocton, but "White Eyes," the Dela- 
ware chief, sent the following figurative message out to the Shaw- 
nees and the Mingoes : "Grandchildren, ye Shawnees ! Some 
davs ago a flock of birds that came on from the east lit at Goscho- 
ching (Coshocton) imposing a song of theirs upon us, which song 
has nigh proved onr ruin ! Should these birds, which, on leaving 
us, took their flight toward the Scioto, endeavor to impose a song 
on you likewise, do not listen to them for they lie." 

However, the words of "White Eyes" were of no avail to his 
grandchildren on the Scioto. The renegades had there met James 
Girty, who was easily persuaded to join them. The Shawnees 
were wavering and he was largely responsible for turning them 
from all thoughts of peace with the United States. It was about 
the middle of June when the original party (James Girty not be- 
ing along) reached the open arms of Lieutenant Governor Hamil- 
ton at Detroit. He immediately appointed Girty as interpreter of 
the Six Nations, the renegade thus becoming an employee of the 
British, for his services receiving two dollars per day. McKee 
was made a captain of the British Indian Department. On June 
15, I//8, the Supreme Executive Council issued a proclamation 
adjudging them traitors. Hamilton sent Simon Girty to the 
Mingoes and James Girty to the Shawnees, each instructed to 
give the best possible service both in interpreting and fighting. 
Until this time neither had the blood of a fellow countryman upon 
his hands. From now on this can not be said of them. For their 
future attitude Hamilton was largely responsible. 

Upon their reaching the Indian tribes a war party was started 
for Kentucky, both being along. The party brought back seven 
scalps, a woman named Mary Kennedy and seven children as 

Simon Kenton, the scout, had left Boone's station in Kentucky 
to cross the Ohio, being accompanied by Alexander Montgomery 
and George Clark. They ran across some horses in the rich prai- 
ries andj by the use of salt and halters succeeded in stampeding 
seven towards the Ohio. The river being wild the party was de- 
layed in crossing and were overtaken by the Indians. Clark es- 
caped, Montgomery was killed and scalped, and Kenton was tied 
upon the back of one of the wildest horses. After plunging, kick- 
ing and rearing the animal finally followed the others. At four 
different villages he was beaten and made to "run the gauntlet," 
almost losing his life each time. Later, while seated on the floor 
of the council house with his face blackened, a sure sign of being 
doomed, in walked Simon Girty, his brother James, John Ward 
and an Indian with the eight captives spoken of above and the 


seven scalps. Kenton was temporarily removed but was shortly 
brought back. He recognized the hated traitor. Girty threw down 
a blanket and with a scowl ordered him upon it. He hesitated and 
Girty impatiently jerked him upon it. Girty did not recognize him 
and proceeded to quiz him for information. To the inquiry as to 
where he lived he replied "In Kentucky." To other questions 
Kenton gave answers which were intended to lead his interrogator 
astray. Finally he was asked his name and replied, "Simon Butler," 
the name he was known by along the frontier. Girty embraced 
him on the spot and told him he was condemned to death, but that 
he would use every means to save his life. His pleas were ef- 
fective, as the Indians relented. 

A short time afterwards a party of Indians returned from the 
vicinity of Wheeling defeated by the whites, some having been 
killed and others wounded. Determined to be avenged they sent 
to Girty to appear with Kenton, which he did. He again inter- 
ested himself, but by an overwhelming vote it was decided to burn 
him at the stake. However at Girty's request he was taken by the 
Indians to Upper Sandusky to suffer the torture. Through the 
intercession of a trader there he escaped death, being sent to De- 
troit. Subsequently he fled and finally arrived safely in Kentucky. 

Captain John Clark had commanded a relief party with provi- 
sions for Colonel Gibson at Fort Laurens, and on his return Girty 
and seventeen redskins attacked them and killed two, wounding 
four and taking one prisoner. The remainder, including the cap- 
tain, fought a defensive fight back to the fort. Lieutenant Gover- 
nor Hamilton, getting restless, had previously captured Vincennes, 
and Clarke knew that if he didn't get Hamilton and Vincennes 
that Hamilton would get him. Accordingly on February 7, with 
a force of 126 men he started, and on February 25 captured Ham- 
ilton and the fort. Girty, in attacking Clark, had gained posses- 
sion of correspondence of Colonel Gibson, which he took to De- 
troit, but Hamilton had already been captured. In the corre- 
spondence Gibson revealed the fact that Girty, if captured, could 
expect little mercy from him. At first this caused a feeling of 
despondency which developed into resentment and vindictiveness 
against his countrymen far greater than before. 

Girty met an American named Richard Conner at Coshocton 
and told him to "tell the Americans that I desire to be shown no 
favor, neither will I show any." George Girty. who had been a 
second lieutenant of the Colonial troops, also deserted and on Au- 
gust 8. 1779, arrived at Detroit, the third of the family to become 
a renegade. He was made an interpreter and assigned to the 
Sbawnees. Deer skins (known as "bucks" and "does") were 
worth about a dollar each and were in some cases used as cur- 
rency. Hence, a charge to George Girty reads: "To salt at 


Shawnees towns. 4 bucks; to 116 pounds Hour, 14 bucks; to bag 
flour. 2 bucks; to tobacco, 3 bucks." 

A' party of "Virginians" from near where Brownsville, Penn- 
sylvania, now stands, went to New Orleans for supplies. They 
had returned to about three miles below where the little Miami 
joins the Ohio when Simon and George Girty, Matthew Elliott 
and a hundred Indians attacked them, killing David Rogers, the 
captain, and forty-one others of the party and taking five pris- 
oners. The Indians lost but two, with three more slightly 
wounded. They captured a quantity of rum, forty bales of dry 
goods, and a "chest of hard specie." 

On one occasion Simon Girty saved the life of an eighteen- 
year-old boy, Henry Baker, who had been captured by a small 
war party near Wheeling. He was taken to Upper Sandusky, 
where he was placed with nine other prisoners, captured Ken- 
tuckians. All were compelled to "run the gauntlet." The boy, 
being fleet of foot, easily ran it, which so enraged a young Indian 
that he knocked him down with a club after reaching the council 
house. The nine Kentuckians were burned at the stake, one a 
day until all had perished. Baker was compelled to witness all 
this. Then it was his turn. An old chief ordered him taken out 
and tied to a stake. Seeing a white man approaching on horse- 
back, he resisted somewhat and then ran up and implored the rider 
to save him. It was Simon Girty, who at once interceded in his 
behalf. The savages relented and let him go, sending him to De- 
troit as a prisoner. He escaped and reached his home in safety. 

On one occasion (1781) Simon Girty had a narrow escape from 
death. Captain Brant, while drinking intoxicants, boasted of his 
prowess and told how he single-handed had captured a number of 
the enemy. Girty's envy was awakened and he promptly told 
Brant that he lied. The latter immediatelv struck him in the head 
with his sword, making an ugly scar which he carried to his death 
and which he later boasted of as "having received it in battle." It 
was many weeks before he could even sit up. 

Heckewelder, the Moravian missionary, in 1782, saw Simon 
Girty frequently, he being at that time the constant companion of 
Dunquat, the half-king of the Wyandottes. He had then become 
more inhuman and savage thai: ever. The winter was cold, food 
was scarce, the cattle were dying for want of food, there was little 
wood to burn and the tents were small, many were living on the 
carcasses of the starved cattle ; yet when the missionary's wife had 
prepared for themselves a little food, from their scanty lot. in 
walked Simon Girty and a Wyandotte Indian and helped them- 
selves. The half-king had lost two sons in battle the previous 
fall and was very resentful against the whites. Girty now called 


himself "Captain Girty" and would instigate among the Wyan- 
dottes all the trouble possible for the Moravians. 

( )n one occasion Christian Fast, of Westmoreland County, 
Pennsylvania, and of the part which later became Fayette County, 
a hoy of seventeen was captured. He was wounded before being 
made prisoner but his life was spared, lie was adopted by a 
I Vlaware family which had lost a son in a skirmish. Naturally 
young Fast became melancholy at times. Thoughts of home would 
steal upon him, and on one of these occasions he had proceeded 
into the woods and was sitting on a log musing. He was suddenly 
accosted by a white stranger and asked what he was thinking about. 
He replied that he had no company and felt lonesome. "That is 
not it," said the stranger. "You are thinking of home; be a good 
hoy and you shall see your home again." The speaker was Simon 
Girty, who had taken a liking to the boy, who later did escape and 
reached his own home in safety. 

While three of the Girty boys were renegades, the fourth, 
Thomas Girty, lived in Pittsburgh, rather a respected citizen. 

Captain Crawford, who was a fellow officer with Girty in the 
Virginia militia of a period before, was captured and was burned 
at the stake, and among the witnesses of the spectacle was the 
renegade. Crawford was undressed, and tied to a stake about 
fifteen feet high by a rope which was attached to the ligaments 
of his wrists. The rope was of a length to permit his walking 
around the post two or three times, returning the same way. The 
fires were six or seven yards from the post. About seventy loads 
of powder were shot into his body and then his ears were cut off. 
On every side were tormentors with burning faggots and if be 
turned about to escape torture he again met with it. In the midst 
of these tortures Crawford called to Girty and begged to be shot. 
In derision Girty replied that he had no gun, and laughed heartily, 
all his gestures showing that he was delighted with the spectacle. 
After almost two hours of torture Crawford fell upon his stom- 
ach and was then scalped. Hot coals-were applied to him, hut he 
again raised himself to his feet and walked around the stake, 
seeming more insensible to pain than before. Dr. Knight, who 
was also captured at the same time, was a witness up until this 
point when he was led away. 

Girty then told Knight to prepare for death, but not there, as 
he was to be burned in one of the Shawnee towns. With fear- 
ful oaths he told him that he need not expect to escape death, hut 
should suffer it in all its agonies. Colonel John Gibson had threat- 
ened to trepan him, if captured, and he told Knight that some 
prisoners had informed him that if the Americans got him they 
would torture him. but that he didn't believe it. He asked Knight's 
opinion, hut he, having just witnessed the awful proceedings with 


Crawford, was so unnerved that he could not reply. Knight was 
sent to the Shawnee town under the guard of a single Indian, 
whom he killed and then escaped, finally arriving at Pittsburgh 
half starved. 

George Girty was about as blood-thirsty as his brother Simon. 
John Stover had been of the same war party as Crawford and 
Knight, and was later condemned to the stake. He was tied to the 
stake and George Girty cursed him and told him he was about to 
get what he deserved, but suddenly a storm broke and the Indians 
sought cover, Stover in the meantime breaking his bonds and 

The news of peace between the United States and Great Britain 
did not reach Fort Pitt until May. 1783, and incursions into the 
settlements by small war parties of savages were still carried on. 
Simon Girty led one to Nine Mile Run, within five miles of Pitts- 
burgh, and took a few scalps. This was the renegade's last trip 
into the state of his birth. In July, 1783, after five years of almost 
constant life among the red men he returned to Detroit, where he 
made his home for a short time. In 1784 he journeyed to the 
Indian country for Catharine Malott, who, as a girl in her teens, 
was taken prisoner on the Ohio River in 1780. She was now 
grown to womanhood and wanted to escape savage life, which was, 
no doubt, her only reason for marrying the renegade, which she 
did late that year, settling on the Canadian side. He was still a 
British government agent and was often on the American side 
urging the Indians to harass the new government. 

It appears nowhere that Girty possessed courage, yet his cow- 
ardice is attested by hundreds of acts of a disreputable nature. 
About 1798 he and his wife separated, as she could not stand his 
cruel treatment. Later they lived together again. When the 
Americans came to take possession of Detroit he got so frightened 
that he hurriedly swam the river on horseback. He was almost 
six feet tall, with black hair, a full face, a massive head, and black 
eyes. He was bronzed by exposure, and dressed in Indian fashion, 
being adorned with paint and feathers, and he looked every inch 
an Indian. 

He died on his farm, in Canada, granted him by the Britisli 
government for his perfidy, in 1818, although many historians, in- 
cluding Roosevelt, in his "Winning of the West," mistakenly have 
him killed in battle at Proctor's defeat on the Thames. Of the 
four brothers, Thomas alone led a civilized life. 

Girty became an Indian of his own free will, acquired their 
habits, participated in their councils, inflamed their passions, and 
goaded them on to the most cruel tortures of captives ; and he 
deserves to go down in history as one of the most desperate and 
degenerate characters in its annals. There ever rankled in his 


bosom a dreadful hatred against his country, and while he had all 
the vices of both civilized and uncivilized peoples, he had the vir- 
tues of neither. 

Tradition would have Simon Girty, the renegade, use the cave 
or "notch" near the top of Half Falls Mountain, known as Girty's 
Notch, as a hiding place and observatory during the Indian trou- 
bles from 1754 to 1764, but there are official records, as stated, 
during these years, which connect him indisputably with the terri- 
tory lying west of Pittsburgh. It is no pleasure to the writer, 
whose birthplace was within a half dozen miles of the location and 
whose childhood was enlivened by tales of Girty's prowess and 
deviltry, to mar this tradition, but history not only fails to bear it 
out, but furnishes evidence of his activities having been in an 
entirely different region. 

Consul Willshire Butterfield, in his History of the Girtys, se- 
verely criticizes the accounts of Simon Girty as contained in 
*Wright's History of Perry County, which was published many 
years ago and which were probably taken from newspaper articles 
of the period, as the facilities for research at that time were lim- 
ited. Many of the errors in reference to Girty are caused by con- 
fusing father and son, both being named Simon. 

In the vicinity of Landisburg there is a tradition that Girty's 
perfidy was the result of his not having been given the command 
of the whites during a skirmish at Wagner's woods, near that 
town. Like the other tales which connect the renegade with Perry 
County territory, there is nothing to it, as he never was in the 
territory save as a boy of eight years, when his father was a 
squatter, and later in crossing the territory when twelve to fifteen 
years of age, with his stepfather and family on their way to Fort 
Granville, near Lewistown. As stated, their capture at that place 
was in 1756 and Girty's perfidy dates from 1776 to 1778, and its 
actual occurrence was at Pittsburgh. 

That the renegade was a thorough Indian at heart is proven by 
the fact that in 1792, when a Great Council of all the north- 
western tribes was convened on the Maumee, he was the only 
white man admitted, among the others being forty chiefs of the 
Six Nations, who counseled peace. 

*In an article in the Newport (Pa.) Ledger in later years Mr. Wright 
wrote: "From reliable information in the writer's possession the renegade 
never visited these places (Girty's Notch) and could not have given them 
his name." 


IN announcing the intention to publish this book the statement 
was made that the history of Duncan's and Haldeman's Is- 
lands, while located in Dauphin County, would be included for 
the reason that the business and social activities of every nature— 
except legal — are with the Perry County side of the river, and for 
the additional reason that the history of one merges into the other. 
The only reason why these two islands are not a part of Perry 
County is that in the old Indian grant to Penn the line was made 
the western bank of the river. Logically they should be a part of 
Perry County, and in 1819 a strong effort was made to have them 
attached to Cumberland County (of which Perry was then a part), 
but it was defeated. Then, a year later, when Perry County was 
formed, they probably could have been attached to Perry, but no 
effort was made. As this chapter contains much of Indian life it 
is inserted here, rather than later. 

( >riginally the Juniata's waters joined with those of the Sus- 
quehanna at two points, one being a channel at the north end of 
Duncan's Island, thus forming between the rivers an island, orig- 
inally known as Juniata Island to the natives. This channel was 
known to early rivermen as "the gut." Marcus ITulings connected 
it with the mainland by a causeway, so that pack horses could pass 
over. Although it retains the name "island," it is in reality no 
longer an island, as the channel at the upper end has long since 
been filled in, the same having been done when the Pennsylvania 
canal was building. During the great floods of 1846 and 1889 
the embankment was swept away and each time was rebuilt at 
gnat expense, the first time by the state, then in possession of the 
canals, and the last time by the Pennsylvania Railroad, at an ex- 
pense of $60,000. Across it passed that great artery of traffic, 
the Pennsylvania canal, and over it now passes the William Penn 
highway and the Susquehanna 'frail. Much of this fill-in was dug 
out when the highway was put through recently, and whether this 
was discreet only another great flood will tell, but rivermen eon- 
tend that it will again break through. 

Duncan's Island is almost two miles long, and almost all of it 
is now the property of William If. Richter. It contains approxi- 
mately 300 acres of land. During the first decade of the Nine- 
teenth Century a village sprang up at its southern point and was 
named I'envenue. It still exists, but is now largely summer cot- 



tages. Here once stood the Indian village of "Choniata" or 
"Juneauta," of which there is record as early as 1654 and as late 
as 1745. From this lower point of the island a long, covered 
wooden bridge spans the Susquehanna to Clark's Ferry, a station 
011 the Northern Central Railway, and an iron bridge spans the 
Juniata to a point near Juniata Bridge, a station on the main line 
1 if the Pennsylvania Railroad. 

When the Pennsylvania canal was in operation the mule teams 
which drew the boats crossed the Susquehanna bridge on a tow- 
path built on the outside, towing the canal boats across the river 
at this point, through Green's dam — now commonly referred to 
as the Clark's Ferry dam. The original ferry over the Juniata 
was conducted by the Baskins family, some of whose descendants 
to this day live near by. 

In Watson's Annals the following statement is to be found : 
"This island was the favorite home of the Indians and there are 
still many Indian remains. At the angle of the canal, near the 
great bridge, I saw the mound covered with trees, from which 
were taken hundreds of cartloads of human bones, and which were 
used with the intermixed earth as filling materials for one of the 
shoulders or bastions of the dam. What sacrilege ! There were 
also among them beads, trinkets, etc." 

During the latter part of the last century and the beginning of 
the twentieth the writer was a resident of the near by vicinity and 
knows of many arrowheads, Indian hatchets, skinning stones, etc., 
being found on the islands, and present day residents say they are 
still being 4 found, especially when turning up the ground. As late 
as 1916 the Susquehanna Archaeological Expedition, of which Mr. 
George P. Donehoo, the noted authority upon Indian and Colonial 
history, was a member, found many evidences of Indian occupa- 
tion upon Duncan's Island. They gathered many hundred speci- 
mens of Indian origin, including banner stones, hatchets, arrow 
points, etc. The upper end of the island is even now covered 
with cracked stones used at fireplaces. On one of the paths at the 
lower end of the island, Dr. Moorehead, of the Expedition, found 
an unsual specimen — a half-finished banner stone. The so-called 
Indian mound was dug into, but no traces of Indian work found 

Duncan's Island, even to the eye, but more so to memory, 
seems a spot of fascination and romance, and its uncounted his- 
torical data, like its silt levels, is more or less submerged. It was 
here that tradition would have two powerful tribes, the Delawares 
and Cayugas, fight for days until the eddying river inlets along 
shore were crimsoned. To tell the tale we have only vast quantities 
<>f broken spearheads and arrows, and they are but mute evidence, 
but to the winner (the Cayugas, already familiar with firearms) 


the strategic point between the rivers and the oncoming civiliza- 
tion was probably worth all it cost. Luckily a few records exist 
which makes it possible to get a glimpse into those early days. 

Marcus Huling, who came from Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, 
is credited by various historians as probably being the first settler 
of Duncan's Island, but there is no record to bear this out, but 
there are records relating to Hulings which disprove it. The first 
settler was William Baskins, referred to farther on. Hulings 
owned the point between the two rivers, long owned by Dr. Reut- 
ter's heirs. Rupp, the historian, gives the date as 1735. That he 
was there in 1744 is practically certain, as he was one of the 
searching party which hunted for the murdered man Armstrong 
in that year. (See "Murder of an Early Trader," chapter 2.) 
The locality is still the home of some of Hulings' descendants. 

In a rough draft submitted to the province to protect his own 
claim Hulings has left to posterity the names of a few of the 
first settlers of these lands and the vicinity, as the following pages 
will show, and at no place does he claim either ownership or occu- 
pancy. The Hulings family was of Swedish descent and on set- 
tling between the rivers he built the causeway over the strip of 
water connecting the two rivers and started a ferry over the 
Juniata. Trade at that time, it will be remembered, was all done 
with pack horses. Later he owned a toll bridge there, which at 
his death passed to Rebecca Hulings Duncan. 

With Braddock's defeat in 1755 came all the horrors of Indian 
warfare, and the scattered settlers in and around Perry County 
were obliged to flee. However, home, then as now, was dear to 
these pioneers, and some of them lingered long. Being apprised 
of the near approach of the redskins Marcus Hulings, grasping a 
few valuables, placed his wife and youngest child upon a large 
black horse and fled to the point of the island. His other children 
had previously gone to seek safety. Having forgotten something 
and thinking the Indians might not have arrived he ventured to 
return to the house. After carefully reconnoitering he entered 
and found an Indian upstairs "coolly picking his flint." He par- 
leyed with the Indian to escape death and got away. The delay 
caused his wife to believe him murdered and she swam the Sus- 
quehanna on horseback, although the water was high. When he 
arrived at the point he crossed in a light canoe and they finally 
reached Fort Hunter, having been preceded by the Baskins family 
and other fugitives. Here the inhabitants of Pextang (Harris- 
burg) had rallied for defense. 

In 1756 Mr. Hulings went to the western part of Pennsylvania 
and became the owner, whether by purchase or patent we do not 
know, of the point of land located between the Monongahela and 
Allegheny Rivers, where they meet and form the Ohio, and where 


Pittsburgh now stands. Becoming discontented he sold this west- 
ern property for £200 and returned to the one on the Juniata. 

While in western Pennsylvania encroachments were made on 
his lands in what is now Watts Township, Perry County, and he 
protested, as the following letter still in existence, shows : 

"Fort Pitt, May the 7th, 1762. 
"To William Peters, Esq., Secretary to the Propriatories in land office in 
Philadelphia, &c: 

"The petitioner hereof humbly sheweth his grievance in a piece of un- 
cultivated land, laying in Cumberland County (now Perry), on the North- 
west side of Juneadey, laying in the very Forks and Point between the 
two rivers, Susquehanna and Juneadey, a place that I Improved and lived 
on one Year and a half on the said place till the enemeyes in the beginning 
of the last Warrs drove me away from it, and I have had no opertunity 
yet to take out a Warrant for it ; my next neighbor wass one Joseph 
Greenwood, who sold his improvement to Mr. Neaves, a merchant in 
Philadelphia, who took out a warrant for the S'd place, and gave it into 
the hands of Collonel John Armstrong, who is Surveyor for Cumberland 
county; and while I was absent from them parts last summer, Mr. Arm- 
strong runed out that place Joyning me, for Mr. Neaves ; and as my 
place layes in the verry point, have encroached too much on me and Take 
away part of Improvements; the line Disided between me and Joseph 
Greenwood was up to the first short small brook that emptyed into Sus- 
quehanna above the point, and if I should have a strait line run'd from 
the one river to the other with equal front on each River from that brook, 
I shall not have 300 acres in that survey ; the land above my house upon 
Juneadey is much broken and stoney. I have made a rough draft of the 
place and lines, and if Your Honor will be pleased to see me righted, 
the Petitioner hereof is in Duty bound ever for you to pray; from verry 
humble serv't. Marcus Hulings." 

Accompanying the above was a note to Mr. Peters, which shows 
that Hulings also had a claim on the south (west) side of the 
Juniata. The note: 

"May ye 17th, 1762. 
"Sir: I have left orders for Mr. Mathias Holston, living in Upper 
Merrion of Philadelphia county, to take out two warrants for me, one 
for the Point between the two Rivers, and one for the Improvements I 
have in the place called the Onion bottom on the south side of Juneadey 
right opposite to the other, where I lived six months before I moved to 
the other place; from your humble servant, Marcus Hulings." 

"Accompanying these letters was the rough draft spoken of in 
the first letter, an attempted description of which follows : Three 
islands are marked. The one now known as Duncan's is marked 
"Island" and the house upon it as "Widow Baskins." The large 
island in the Susquehanna known as Haldeman's is marked "Is- 
land" and three houses located, the lower one being marked "Fran- 
cis Baskins," the next a third up on the east side, "George Clark," 
and a little above the centre, "Francis Ellis." On the east bank 
of the Susquehanna, almost opposite, is a house marked "James 
Reed," while between the centre of the island and the western 
shore is a small triangular island. 


On the point between the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers is 
Hillings' residence. Some distance from the point is a straight 
line running from river to river, marked "this is the way I want 
my line," while above, on the west bank of the Susquehanna, 
nearly opposite the James Reed house, is "Mr. Neave's house." 
Farther up the river, opposite a small island, is another house also 
marked "Francis Ellis." A circuitous line shows where Neave's 
line crossed that of Hulings. On the south side of the Juniata, 
below the mouth thereof, is a house marked "William Kerl," and 
opposite the points of Duncan's Island is "James Baskins'." Farther 
up, in the plot called the "Onion bottom," is another house marked 
"Marcus Hulings." Beyond this, on the south side of the Juniata, 
is a house marked "Cornelius Acheson," who is also credited with 
encroaching on Hulings' "Onion bottom" property. On the east 
side of the Susquehanna River Peters' Mountain and "the nar- 
roughs" are marked. As Hulings likely came to these fertile lands 
with provincial sanction and probably insistence to induce settle- 
ment it is believed that his claims, which also appear to be founded 
on prior right, were adjusted to his satisfaction. 

In 1788 Marcus Hidings died. During the earliest years of 
their life in that vicinity Mrs. Hulings on mor* than one occasion 
forded the Susquehanna on horseback with a oag of grain which 
she took to the mill at Fort Hunter. Marcus, the eldest Hidings' 
son, did not return with the family to this vicinity, but remained 
in Pittsburgh, where he established a ferry at what is now the 
foot of Liberty Street, over the Monongahela River. It was aft- 
erwards known as Jones' Ferry. He was later employed in mov- 
ing military stores on the rivers in that vicinity and in other work 
in behalf of the government and pioneers. Another son located 
in the western part of the province and was the owner of Hillings' 
Island, in the Allegheny River. 

Thomas Hulings, the youngest son, became the owner of the 
estate in the East. He died in Buffalo Township in 1808. His 
first wife was a daughter of General Frederick Watts, of Revolu- 
tionary fame. Their oldest daughter, Rebecca, married Robert 
Callendar Duncan, a son of Judge Duncan, of Carlisle and it is 
through him that Duncan's Island gets its name, he eing the 
grandfather of Mr. P. F. Duncan, cashier of the Duncai non Na- 
tional Bank; Mrs. William Wills and Mrs. Frank McM;>rris, of 
Duncannan, the line of descent coming through Benjamin Stiles 
I )uncan. 

As previously stated, Duncan's Island was the seat of an Indian 
village, known as "Juneauta," in fact the island was known by 
that name among the Indian tribes. There is a tradition which is 
strongly substantiated that at one time the Cayugas and the Dela- 
ware's fought a battle here. To David Brainerd, a graduate of 


Vale College and a distinguished missionary, posterity is indebted 
for a glimpse into the utter debauchery and dissoluteness of the 
tribe of Indians located here, and in all probability a counterpart 

of the lives of Indians generally in those days. It is the first 
record of the Shawnees in these islands. 

He became so devoted to the gospel that he consecrated his 
whole life to the evangelizing of the savages, lie came down the 
Susquehanna afoot and on May 19. 1745. he landed at the Indian 
town of Juneauta. In his diary he says, evidently discouraged: 

"Was much discouraged with the temper and behavior of the Indians 
here ; although they appeared friendly when I was with them last spring, 
and then gave me encouragement to come and see them again. But they 
now seem resolved to retain their pagan notions, and persist in their 
idolatrous practices." 

On September 20 he again visited the island and while his 
descriptions as recorded in his diary are rather long they are 
reproduced here in full. lie says: 

"Found them almost universally very busy in making preparations for 
a great sacrifice and dance. Had" no opportunity to get them together, in 
order to discourse with them about Christianity, by reason of their being 
so much engaged about their sacrifice. My spirits were much sunk with 
a prospect so very discouraging; and especially seeing I had this day no 
interpreter but a pagan, who was as much attached to idolatry as any of 
them, and who could neither speak nor understand the language of these 
Indians; so that I was under the greatest disadvantages imaginable. How- 
ever I attempted to discourse privately with some of them, but without 
any appearance of success; notwithstanding, I still tarried with them, 

"In the evening they met together, nearly 100 of them, and danced 
around a large fire, having prepared ten fat deer for the sacrifice. The 
fat of the inwards they burnt in the fire while they were dancing, which 
sometimes raised the fire to a prodigious height; at the same time yelling 
and shouting in such a manner that they might easily have been heard two 
miles or more. They continued their sacred dance nearly all night, after 
which they ate the flesh of the sacrifice, and so retired, each one to his 
own lodging. 

"I enjoyed little satisfaction, being entirely alone on the island, as to 
Christian company, and in the midst of this idolatrous revel ; and having 
walked to and fro till body and mind were pained and much oppressed, 
I at length crept into a little crib made for corn and there slept on the 

The next entry is dated Lord's day, Sept. 21, and continues: 

"Spent the day with the Indians on the island. As soon as they were 
well up in the morning I attempted to instruct them, and labored for 
that purpose to get them together, but soon found they had something 
else to do, for near noon they gathered together all of their conjurors 
and set about half a dozen of them playing their juggling tricks and acting 
their frantic, distracted postures, in order to find out why they were then 
"so sickly upon the island, numbers of them at that time being disordered 
with a fever and bloody flux. In this exercise they were engaged for 
several hours, making all the wild, ridiculous and distracted motions 
imaginable, sometimes singing, sometimes howling, sometimes extending 


their hands to the utmost stretch, spreading their fingers ; they seemed to 
push with them as if they designed to push something away, or at least 
keep it off at arm's end; sometimes stroking their faces with their hands, 
then spurting water as fine mist ; sometimes sitting flat on the earth, 
then bowing their faces to the ground; then wringing their sides as if in 
pain or anguish, twisting their faces, turning up their eyes, grunting, 
puffing, &c. 

"Their monstrous actions tended to excite ideas of horror, and seemed 
to have something in them, as I thought, peculiarly suited to raise the 
devil, if he could be raised by anything odd, ridiculous and frightful. 
Some of them, I could observe, were much more fervent and devout in 
the business than others, and seemed to chant and mutter with a great 
degree of warmth and vigor, as if determined to awaken and engage the 
powers below. I sat at a small distance, not more than thirty feet from 
them, though undiscovered, with my Bible in my hand, resolving, if pos- 
sible, to spoil their sport, and prevent their receiving any answers from 
the infernal world, and there viewed the whole scene. They continued 
their horrid charms and incantations for more than three hours, until they 
had all wearied themselves out, although they had in that space of time 
taken several intervals of rest, and at length broke up, I apprehended, 
without receiving any answer at all. 

"After they had done powwowing I attempted to discourse with them 
about Christianity, but they soon scattered and gave me no opportunity 
for anything of that nature. A view of these things, while I was entirely 
alone in the wilderness, destitute of the society of any one who so much 
as 'named the name of Christ' greatly sunk my spirits and gave me the 
most gloomy turn of mind imaginable, almost stripped me of all resolu- 
tion and hope respecting further attempts for propagating the gospel and 
converting the pagans, and rendered this the most burdensome and dis- 
agreeable Sabbath which I ever saw. But nothing, I can truly say, sunk 
and distressed me like the loss of my hope respecting their conversion. 
This concern seemed to be so great and seemed to be so much my own, 
that I seemed to have nothing to do on earth if this failed. A prospect 
of the greatest success in 1 the saving conversion of souls under gospel 
light would have done little or nothing towards compensating for the loss 
of my hope in this respect; and my spirits were so damp and depressed 
that I had no heart nor power to make any further attempts among them 
for that purpose, and could not possible recover my hope, resolution and 
courage by the utmost of my endeavors. 

"The Indians of this island can, many of them, understand the English 
language considerably well, having formerly lived in some part of Mary- 
land, among or near the white people, but are very drunken, vicious and 
profane, although not so savage as those who have less acquaintance with 
the English. Their customs, in various respects, differ from those of the 
other Indians upon this river. They do not bury their dead in a common 
form, but let their flesh consume above the ground, in closed cribs made 
for that purpose. At the end of a year, or sometimes a longer space of 
time, they take the bones when the flesh is all consumed and wash and 
scrape them and afterwards bury them with some ceremony. Their method 
of charming or conjuring over the sick, seems somewhat different from 
that of the other Indians, though in substance the same. The whole of it 
among these and others, perhaps, is an imitation of what seems, by Naa- 
man's expression (Kings 2-11) to have been the custom of the ancient 
heathen. It seems chiefly to consist in their 'striking their hands over the 
diseased, repeatedly stroking them, and calling upon their god;' except 


the spurting of water like a mist and some of the other frantic ceremonies 
common to the other conjurations which I have already mentioned. 

"When I was in this region in May last I had an opportunity of learning 
of the notions and customs of the Indians, as well as of ohserving many 
of their practices. I then traveled more than 130 miles upon the river, 
above the English settlements, and in that journey met with individuals 
of seven or eight distinct tribes, speaking as many different languages. 
But of all the sights I ever saw among them, or indeed anywhere else, 
none appeared so frightful, or so near akin to what is usually imagined 
of infernal powers, none ever excited such images of terror in my mind 
as the appearance of one who was a devout or zealous reformer, or rather 
restorer of what he supposed was the ancient religion of the Indians. 
He made his appearance in his 'pontificial' garb, which was a coat of bear 
skins, dressed with the hair on and hanging down to his toes; a pair of 
bear-skin stockings and a great wooden face painted, the one-half black, 
the other half tawney, about the color of the Indians' skin, with an ex- 
travagant mouth cut very much awry ; the face fastened to a bear-skin 
cap, which was drawn over his head. 

"He advanced toward me with the instrument in his hand which he 
used for music in his idolatrous worship, which was a dry tortoise shell 
with some corn in it, the neck of it drawn on to a piece of wood, which 
made a very convenient handle. As he came forward he beat his tune 
with the rattle and danced with all his might, but did not suffer any part 
of his body, even his fingers, to be seen. No one would have imagined 
from his appearance or actions that he could have been a human creature, 
if they had not had some intimation of it otherwise. When he came near 
me I could not but shrink away from him, although it was then noonday, 
and I knew who it was ; his appearance and gestures were so prodigiously 
frightful. He had a house consecrated to religious uses, with divers 
images cut upon the several parts of it. I went in and found the ground 
beat almost as hard as a rock, with their frequent dancing upon it. I 
discoursed with him about Christianity. Some of my discourse he seemed 
to like, but some of it he disliked extremely. He told me that God had 
taught him his religion and that he would never turn from it, but wanted 
to find some who would join heartily with him in it; for the Indians, he 
said, were grown very degenerate and corrupt. He had thoughts, he said, 
of leaving all his friends and traveling abroad in order to find some who 
would join with him; for he believed that God had some good people 
somewhere who felt as he did. He had not always, he said, felt as he now 
did, but had formerly been like the rest of the Indians until about four 
or five years before that time. Then, he said, his heart was very much 
distressed, so that he could not live among the Indians, but got away into 
the woods and lived alone for months. At length, he said, God comforted 
his heart and showed him what he should do, and since that time he had 
known God and tried to serve Him; and loved all men, be they who they 
would, so as he never did before. 

"He treated me with uncommon courtesy and seemed to be heart in it. 
I was told by the Indians that he was opposed to their drinking strong 
liquor with all his power; and that, if at any time he could not dissuade 
them from it by all he could say, he would leave them and go crying into 
the woods. It was manifest that he had a set of religious notions which 
he had examined for himself and not taken for granted upon bare tradi- 
tion ; and he relished or disrelished whatever was spoken of a religious 
nature, as it either agreed or disagreed with his standard. While I was 
discoursing he would sometimes say: 'Now, that I like; so God has 
taught me,' &c, and some of his sentiments seemed very just. Yet he 


utterly denied the existence of a devil and declared there was no such 
creature known among the Indians of old times, whose religion he sup- 
posed he was attempting to revive. He likewise told me that departed 
souls went southward and that the difference between the good and bad 
was this: that the former were admitted into a beautiful town with 
spiritual walls and that the latter would forever hover around these walls 
in vain attempts to get in. He seemed to be sincere, honest and conscien- 
tious in his own way and according to his own religious notions, which 
was more than I ever saw in any other pagan. I perceived that he was 
looked upon and derided among most of the Indians as a precise zealot, 
who made a needless noise about religious matters, but I must say that 
there was something in his temper and disposition which looked more like 
true religion than anything I ever observed among other heathen. But 
alas! how deplorable is the state of the Indians upon this river! The 
brief representation which I have here given of their notions and manners 
is sufficient to show that they are led captive by Satan at his will in the 
most eminent manner; and methinks might likewise be sufficient to excite 
the compassion and engage the prayers of God's children for these, their 
fellow men, who 'sit in the region of the shadow of death.' " 

September 22 the entry is as follows: 

"Made some further attempts to instruct and Christianize the Indians 
on this island, but all to no purpose. They live so near the white people 
that they are always in the way of strong liquor, as well as the ill example 
of nominal Christians; which renders it so unspeakably difficult to treat 
with them about Christianity." 

The following summer ( 1746) Brainerd again passed up the 
Susquehanna valley and made the following notations in his diary: 

August 19. Lodged by the side of the Susquehanna. Was weak and 
disordered both this and the preceding day, and found my spirits consid- 
erably damped, meeting with none that I thought godly people. 

August 21. Rode up the river about 15 miles and lodged there, in a 
family which appeared quite destitute of God. Labored to discourse with 
the man about the life of religion, but found him very artful in evading 
such conversation. Oh, what a death it is to some, to hear of the things 
of God! Was out of my element, but was not so dejected as at some 

August 22. Continued my course up the river, my people now being 
with me who before were parted from me. Traveled above all the Eng- 
lish settlements ; at night lodged in the open woods, and slept with more 
comfort than while among an ungodly company of white people. Enjoyed 
some liberty in secret prayer this evening; and was helped to remember 
dear friends, as well as my dear flock, and the church of God in general. 

Brainerd returned down the river in October, weak and feeble 
from exposure in the outdoors, never again to return to his be- 
loved work. lie died in New England in the following October. 

Jones' History of the Juniata Valley, in speaking of Indian hos- 
tilities, says : 

"That they had many fierce and sanguinary struggles among themselves 
is well authenticated. A battle almost of extermination was once fought 
between two tribes at Juniata — now known as Duncan's Island — within 
the memory of many Indians who were living when the whites settled 
among them. This island must have been a famous battleground — a very 
Waterloo — in its day. When the canal was in progress of construction, 


hundreds of skeletons were exhumed; and to this day stone arrowheads 
can be found upon almost any part of the island." 

Rupp, in his history, recites an early Indian story of the Bas- 
kins family having been furnished the information by Mitchell 
Steever, Esq., of Newport, Pa. The William Baskins referred to 
was a granduncle to the late Cornelius and James Baskins, who 
will be remembered by many readers of this volume and whose 
descendants yet reside in various parts of the county. 

It appears that at one time Baskins had a crop of grain matur- 
ing on Duncan's Island while the Indians were on a rampage. He 
had previously removed his family to Fort Hunter for security, 
what was known as Fort Hunter in those days, being an outpost 
opposite to the present town of Marysville. With part of his 
family Baskins had returned to cut his grain. While engaged in 
reaping they were startled by a war whoop close by, but seeing 
neighboring Indians they were not alarmed. But they were de- 
ceived, as the savages soon gave them to understand that they were 
after scalps. They all fled, hotly pursued, toward the house, but 
Mr. Baskins, caught in the act of getting his gun, was shot dead 
and scalped. His wife, a son of three, and a daughter of seven 
years were abducted. A man named McClean was also in the field, 
but pi tinged into the Juniata and swam to "Sheep Island" (above 
the iron bridge on the Juniata) and concealed himself in the cleft 
of some rocks on the far side and thus eluded capture. 

As a captive nearing Carlisle Mrs. Baskins escaped from the In- 
dians. The daughter was taken to the Miami country, west of the 
Ohio, then an unbroken wilderness, where she was held in cap- 
tivity for more than six years, when, in conformity with a treaty 
made with the Indians, as mentioned in a previous chapter of this 
hook, she was returned. She later married a man named John 
Smith, whose descendants lived in Newport, Pa., during the middle 
of the last century. The lad, who was captured at the same time, 
was taken to Canada, where he was raised by Sir William John- 
ston, who didn't know his name and who had him baptized "Timo- 
thy Murphy." 

This Baskins lad ("Timothy Murphy") had a venturesome life. 
He was one of the chief riflemen of Morgan's celebrated sharp- 
shooters. At the battle of Bemis Heights Morgan selected a few 
of his best marksmen and directed them to make (General Fraser, 
of the British troops, their especial target. A number fired with 
no effect, but at the crack of Murphy's gun Fraser fell. 

Shortly after the battle of Monmouth, three companies of Mor- 
gan's troops were sent into Schoharie, New York. Among these 
-was Murphy, and the tories set an extra price upon his scalp, which 
it was never necessary to pay, although many Indians tried for it. 
I [e had grown into a stout, well-built man, with jet-black hair and 


eyes and was handsome. While the tories failed to get him here 
he had many hairbreadth escapes, but usually in the nick of time 
something turned up to save him. At one time he possessed a 
double-barreled rifle, an unknown weapon to the Indians. He 
was being chased by a party, and, although he could usually get 
away, now they were gaining on him. He turned and shot one 
and succeeded in getting behind a tree where he quickly reloaded 
the empty chamber. As they again gained on him he stopped and 
shot another, but they resumed the chase, desiring to capture him 
alive and torture him before a slow fire. They were again gaining 
and in despair he jumped behind a tree, and as they advanced shot 
a third one. They immediately fled and in after years "Murphy" 
learned that they had seen him fire three times without reloading 
and that they thought he had "a great medicine of a gun that would 
shoot forever." 

When the war was over, "Murphy," true to the characteristics 
of his forbears, became a farmer. Records tell of his death occur- 
ring from a disease contracted while saving the children of a neigh- 
bor during a winter flood. 

When peace was declared and the independence of the colonies 
became a fact many of the Schoharie Indians returned to settle 
among the people whose buildings they had burned and whose 
relatives they had killed and scalped. Of the worst of his tribe 
was an Indian named Seths Henry, who had killed more than any 
other and who would sometimes leave upon a dead body a war 
club containing many notches cut therefrom. He too came back 
and one day started to call on the different settlers. Not un- 
strangely "Murphy" followed him and there is no record to show 
that the Indian arrived anywhere in this world. 

Then, there began strange disappearances of tories and Indians 
and coincident there was always a fire of brush in the same vicin- 
ity in which might have been found their ashes. The remaining 
renegades and savages took the hint and left the community. 

Timothy Murphy became a wonderful stump speaker and a 
political power in Schoharie County. He brought William C. 
Bouck into public life and later to the gubernatorial chair of New 
York. His mother, the widow of William Baskins, the first set- 
tler of Duncan's Island, remarried, her second husband being 
Francis Ellis. He established a ferry across the Susquehanna dur- 
ing the Revolution and carried on the business for many years. 

After the Baskins boy's capture by the Indians he was first 
heard of through Alexander Stephens, grandfather of Alexander 
H. Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederacy, and father of the 
late James Stephens, of Juniata Township, by a peculiar mark on 
the head. He later visited Perry County and the island and James 
Smith, his nephew, when in Canada during the War of 1812, vis- 


ited him near a place called Maiden, and found him to he the 
owner of a large estate. 

The original Clark's Ferry crossed the Susquehanna at a point 
about the centre of Duncannon, its western landing being at the 
point where Clark's run empties into the river. The Indians had 
a place in the vicinity where they forded the river, which they 
knew as "Queenashawakee." The Juniata they knew as "Choini- 
ata," or "Juneauta." In 1733 John Harris, who had a lust for 
land, had erected a cabin and cleared some fields on the island near 
"the white rock on the riverside." This caused a complaint by the 
Indians. This was on Haldeman's Island. 

At a Council held at Philadelphia Shikellamy, the Indian chief, 
through Conrad Weiser, the interpreter, asked whether the pro- 
prietary government had heard of a letter which he and Sassoonan 
had sent to Harris, asking him to desist from making a plantation 
at the mouth of the "Choinata," where he had built a house and 
was clearing fields. They were informed that Harris had only 
built that house for carrying on trade ; that his plantation on 
which were houses and barns was Pextang (now Harrisburg), 
where he dwelt and from which he was not supposed to remove, 
and that he had no order or permit to make a settlement on the 
"Choinata." Even if he had built his house for trading purposes 
Shikellamy said "he ought not to have cleared fields." He was 
informed that Harris had probably only cleared as much land as 
was needed for raising corn for his horses, to which Shikellamy 
rejoined that he "had no ill will to John Harris, in fact it was not 
his custom to bear ill will, but he is afraid that the warriors of the 
Six Nations, when they pass that way, may take it ill to see a settle- 
ment made on lands which they had always desired to be kept 
free from settlement." He was further informed that care would 
be taken to issue the necessary orders. 

In 1806 Robert C. Duncan, a son of the celebrated jurist, 
Thomas Duncan, of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (having 
married Rebecca Hulings), moved to Duncan's Island, where he 
spent the remainder of his days. It is from him that the island 
takes its name. His brother Stephen resided in what is now Perry 
County, near the mouth of Sherman's Creek, and was the founder 
of the Duncannon Forges, the forerunner of the Duncannon Iron 
Company. He subsequently removed to Washington, D. C, where 
he died. Robert C. Duncan had two sons, one of whom was Dr. 
Thomas Duncan, born in 18 14, a celebrated physician and a promi- 
nent member of the Pennsylvania Legislature. The other was 
Benjamin Stiles, horn in 1816, who went to Arkansas in his boy- 
hood, where he resided until 1858. He was a real estate operator 
and laid out a section of Arkadelphia, which is known to this day 
as "the Duncan Addition," He returned to Duncan's Island and 


engaged in fanning, residing in the house in which he was horn 
until his death, which occurred in 1870. 

Sherman Day, in his Historical Collections of Pennsylvania 
( [843) pays to Mrs. Duncan, widow of the late proprietor of 
Duncan's Island, the following tribute : 

"About half a mile above the village (Benvenue), Mrs. Duncan, 
' the accomplished widow of Robert C. Duncan, still resides in the 
family mansion, where the traveler who chooses to tarry in this 
delightful region may find accommodations — not a hotel, with its 
bar and bottles, and blustering loafers; but in a comfortable, well- 
furnished gentleman's home, with its quiet fireside, and books, and 
intelligent society and amiable tea table." 

The old register of this hotel, beginning with February 6, 1841, 
is in the possession of Mr. P. F. Duncan, her grandson, and is a 
matter of much curiosity to the present day generation. Travel 
was then either overland or by packet. One entry reads thus : 
"Rev. Thomas C. Thornton and lady;" also four children, "all 
the family on the way to Clinton College, Mississippi." On an- 
other line is "Dr. D. L. N. Reutter, residence, Breach at Dun- 
can's Island." Susan Ickes Harding, a daughter of Dr. Jonas 
Ickes, was one of the travelers. Mrs. Harding later became a 
noted philanthropist in Central Illinois. Another name of interest 
is that of Lucretia Mott, a pioneer in woman's suffrage, "on her 
way to Clearfield." 

Among the earlier residents of the island during the past cen- 
tury were the Garmans, who settled there in 1828, Samuel Gar- 
man, long ticket agent and telegrapher for the Northern Central 
Railway at Clark's Ferry and now living retired at Millersburg, 
being a descendant. A man by the name of Updegraff built the 
"point house" in 1834. This was the house where the late J. L. 
Clugston lived, he who long kept a general store at the inlet lock. 
The Carpenter family came from Newport in "the forties," and 
of some of that family more appears in the chapter devoted to 
"River and Canal Transportation." Their sons who grew to man- 
hood were James, John, Thomas and George, and their daughter, 
Elizabeth, became the first wife of Stiles Duncan, owner at that 
time of Duncan's Island. She died September 25, 1857, aged 
twenty-four years. 

The channel between the two islands once was deep and swift, 
but years of constant deposit of silt has left it far less deep and 
its waters seem not nearly so swift as in the days of yore. Dun- 
can's Island has gone through some famous flood experiences, of 
winch there is an account in the chapter devoted to Rivers and 
Streams, elsewhere in this book. 

Both Duncan's and Haldeman's Islands are a part of Reed 
Township, Dauphin County, which was created by an act of the 



Legislature on April 6, 1849. It was named in honor of William 
Reed, who resided midway between Clark's Ferry and Halifax. 
Historically there appears to he little relating separately to llalde- 
man's Island. It was named for one of the early owners. It is 
separated from Duncan's Island by a narrow channel and unlike 
Duncan's Island it is not of alluvial origin, but is elevated high 
above the neighboring low-lying lands. It comprises 775 acres, 
which is divided into five farms each of 155 acres, the ownership 
of which remains in P. F. Duncan (two farms) and Mrs. Mary 
Haldeman Armstrong (three farms). A. Stephen Duncan once 


owned the Haldeman Island also, but sold it to John Haldeman 
for $11,775. It was then known as Baskins' Island. It was first 
surveyed in 1760. 

In the latter part of the eighteenth and the beginning of the 
Nineteenth Century, before the era of internal improvements in 
the state, which destroyed our fisheries, these islands were noted 
for their shad fisheries, where great catches were made. 

The assessment list of 175 1 describes everything above Peters' 
Mountain as "Narrows of Paxtang." Those on and around the 
islands at that time were Widow Murray, Robert Armstrong, 
Thomas Gaston, William Forster, Thomas Clark, John McKen- 
hedy, Robert Clark, Thomas Adams, Albert Adams, John Watt, 
William Baskins, George Wells, Francis Glass, George Clark, John 
Mecheltree, Francis Baskins (trader), John Clark, James Reed, 
James English, John Gevins, John Baskins, Thomas McKee, and 


| (»hn Kelton. Charles Williams and John Lee (trader) are desig- 
nated as "Freemen." John Kelton was the collector. 

The dam across the Susquehanna, at the mouth of the Juniata, 
generally known as the Clark's Ferry Dam, was originally known 
as Green's Dam, by reason of the contractor's name having been 
Abbott Green. Mr. Green was born at Penn's Creek, Snyder 
County, and there grew to manhood. During the spring seasons 
he floated rafts down the river and thus became familiar with river 
traffic. He moved to Lewisburg and engaged in contracting upon 
the public works then under construction by the state. The con- 
struction of this dam — in that period a noted undertaking — was 
the crowning work of his life. 

Duncan's Island Methodist Church, Rebecca Duncan, a resi- 
dent of Duncan's Island, at a very early day of Methodism, opened 
her home for the preaching of that "faith. Through her efforts 
and at her expense the school board later added a second story to 
the public school building, which she donated to the cause for the 
use of the Methodists. In it regular services were conducted until 
the great flood of 1865, when, on March 16th, it was destroyed by 
the onrushing waters. The word was preached by the pastors of 
the Duncannon charge. At various times, and sometimes for long 
continuous periods, there have been Sunday school sessions of an 
undenominational character held in the public school building on 
Duncan's Island. 

The Clark's Ferry Bridge. The building of the Clark's Ferry 
bridge was, in that day, a considerable undertaking. It was to 
span the Susquehanna at a point above the location of the ferry 
conducted by the Clarks, and, as it was to be a part of a great 
highway across the state, men from five counties composed the 
commission which was organized forks erection. The commis- 
sioners appointed for that purpose were as follows: Christian 
Gleim, Archibald M'Allister, Innis Green and Abraham Gross, of 
Dauphin County; Robert Clark. John Boden, and Dr. Samuel 
Mealy, of Cumberland County (then including Perry, from which 
section these three men came) ; William Bell, Lewis Evans, David 
Hidings, Robert Robinson, and John Irwin, of Mifflin County 
(then including Juniata); William -Steel, Patrick Gwinn, and 
Maxwell Kinkead, of Huntingdon County, and James Potter, 
John Rankin, and John Irwin (Penn's Valley), of Centre County. 
The commission organized on Wednesday, May 22, 181 8, by 
electing John Boden, chairman, and Christian Gliem, secretary. 
They began their duties by holding their first view of a site on 
June 3, 1818. On April 17, 1837, a span of the bridge gave way 
and one end lodged upon a pier and could not easily be removed. 
It was then set on fire and floated down the river as it fell, a mass 


of flaming timber. Destruction of parts of the bridge by fire and 
flood at various times is told in the chapter devoted to "Rivers 
and Streams." 

While to the present generation it is a very, very ordinary struc- 
ture, yet it is described in a noted State History of 1844 as "a 
wooden bridge on the Barr plan, resting upon many piers, the 
whole constructed with an elegance and strength equal to if not 
surpassing any public work in the country." Harry McKee long 
kept a hotel at the east end of the bridge and also owned the first 
farm below the point of Peters' Mountain, which had descended 
from his ancestor, Thomas McKee, the trader, spoken of in our 
Indian chapters. 

When the Clark's Ferry bridge burned on May 14. 1846, the de- 
struction being credited to incendiarism, an arrest was made and 
the verdict of guilty in the Dauphin County courts — for both land- 
ings of the bridge are. in Dauphin County — doomed the defendant 
to a term of years in the Eastern penitentiary, although he then 
and in after years protested his innocence. According to two men 
who have long resided in Perry County, one (Jesse M. Pines) re- 
cently passing away, his contention may have been right. The inci- 
dent is printed here for that reason and also as showing methods 
of travel, etc. 

Many years afterwards, over forty years ago, in the later seven- 
ties, George Boyer, now an associate judge of Perry County, and 
Jesse Pines took an extensive horseback ride over parts of central 
and northen Pennsylvania. In the upper part of the state in a 
mountainous section known as Seven Mountains, above Towanda, 
they came upon a mountain tavern near a place known as Unity- 
ville, where they stopped for lodging. In a forlorn, forsaken sec- 
tion of the forest they took turns at sleeping, as the proprietor and 
the Negro porter's appearance seemed to forbode anything but 
good. They were the only occupants of the hotel. During the eve- 
ning one of the travelers chanced to refer in some way to Clark's 
Ferry. The colored fellow became agitated and, when asked if 
he had ever been there, replied that he had, but that he left the 
night that the bridge burned. Further questioning was of no avail, 
as all efforts to get him to say another word about Clark's Ferry 
were futile. Why did he leave the night the bridge burned ? 

The Mining of River Coal. 

Farther up the Susquehanna lay the rich anthracite coal beds. 

From them for generations down the river with the tide drifted 

' deposits of the very smaller sizes of coal, which settled in various 

places where the current was not swift, forming coal beds upon the 

river's bottom. When coal from the mines was selling very 


cheaply and when the canals were hauling it at a very low rate the 
mining or digging of this coal by pumping from the river bed would 
have been unprofitable and was not even considered, but with coal 
prices going up annually about 1890 there sprang up a business of 
pumping this coal by suction, and several outfits followed it for 
years. The coal is from the Wilkes-Barre and Wyoming districts, 
principally. In the early days of coal mining, sizes smaller than 
pea were thrown to the huge dumps until they became virtual 
mountains, containing millions of tons. Many of them were lo- 
cated along the Susquehanna and contributary streams, and from 
these immense culm banks spring freshets and rainy seasons car- 
ried the deposits of coal, which rivermen say exist clear to the 
Chesapeake Bay and at some places have been found to be five 
feet in depth. 

The coal operations at Green's Dam, commonly known as the 
Clark's Ferry Dam, commenced in the vicinity of Benvenue in 
1890. Like many other industries it began in a small way, the 
coal being taken out by hand scoops and canoes, followed by small 
flats of three-ton capacity, for stove use. Shortly after Santo & 
Pease, of Harrisburg, arrived with a steam outfit, with which they 
loaded canal boats for transportation to Harrisburg. This was 
followed by others and, in [894, a Mr. Squires, a Wilkes-Barre 
machinist, built and put in operation the largest plant on the river, 
with the late George B. Lukens as foreman. This plant was bought 
in June, 1897, by B. F. Demaree, a Newport business man, who 
retained Mr. Lukens, and added four fifty-ton flats to the plant. 
With these and two canal boats the coal was conveyed to Harris- 
burg, where it was largely sold to the public utility plants. Rail 
shipments followed in 1902, and the orders were at times for 
amounts from 500 to 5,000 tons. This coal found its way to such 
buyers as Dickinson College, the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Com- 
pany, the Arbuckle Coffee Company, etc. The beginning of the 
erection of the stone arch railroad bridge across the Susquehanna 
near Marysville necessitated the closing of the canal and the end 
of that method of shipping. The Pennsylvania Railroad Company 
then put in a siding near Clark's Ferry, where the coal was loaded 
by derricks, operated by both horse-power and steam. With in- 
creased automobile traffic the State Highway Department stopped 
the swinging of derricks over the highway, and it became necessary 
to introduce the hydraulic system of loading, which has materially 
increased the output. The ice flood of 1919 made a breach in the 
dam and injured the coal business materially, which for thirty 
years flourished there, and may, eventually mean its ending. There 
has been an annual increase in the production ; in 1897 it was as 
little as 8,000 tons, while in 1920 it totaled 150,000 tons. An 



average of thirty men have been employed by the various firms 
operating. The Demaree plant is now owited by Harry V. Lukens, 
who purchased it in 1908. Another operator is H. E. Lukens, his 
father, who, about 1899, purchased the outfit started by a Mr. 
Seiler, of Dalmatia, in 1893. The third plant still in the business 
is that of Hicks Brothers, of Auburn, Pennsylvania, who pur- 
chased out the plant of John Zeigler, about 1912, which he had 
operated as early as 190 1. In fact, Mr. Zeigler and John Briner 
had converted an old river steamer, known as the "Shad Fly," into 
a coal dredge, the previous year, but had dissolved partnership, Mr. 
Briner retaining the outfit, but retiring from the business about 

Bald Eagle Island. 

While Bald Eagle Island is a part of Dauphin County, yet its 
location in the Susquehanna River at Montgomery's Ferry is but 
a few hundred feet from the Perry County shore line. That it is 
a part of Dauphin County comes from the fact that the county line 
is stated in the act creating the county as "to the westward of the 
Susquehanna." The order of survey dated October 23, 1809, to 
George Eckert, "of Strasburgh Township, and county of Lancas- 
ter," and John Shura, "of the township of Upper Paxton, and 
county of Dauphin," describes it as "Bare Island, opposite the lands 
of John Huggins, on the Cumberland County shore and about a 
quarter mile below Berry's Falls or riffles." It is signed by Gov- 
ernor Snyder, the third governor of Pennsylvania. Through this 
earliest of records one learns the fact that it was once known as 
Bare Island. It is now owned by Mr. James D. Bowman, of Mil- 
lersburg, who has a fishing lodge there, which was erected by Mr. 
Christian S. Albright, about 1902, and which he remodeled and 
enlarged in 1909. Mr. Bowman is an adept fisherman and seldom 
fails to furnish to the many large and joyous gatherings assembled 
there at his command, a luncheon of black bass. 

Bald Eagle Island has long been a source for finding many In- 
dian relics, which would imply that it was probably an Indian 
camping ground. From an Indian standpoint it possessed two 
distinct advantages; one being the lookout both up and down the 
river, and the other that it was an ideal fishing ground, which it 
still is. There was also an early fording here, the width of the 
river at this point during low water being not over five-eighths of 
a mile. The island contains approximately five acres, not includ- 
ing the sand bar at the north end. A third of a century ago the 
Harrisburg Young Men's Christian Association used it as their 
annual camping ground. The name Bald Eagle was given to the 
island by reason of the fact that there once stood on it a large and 
high pine tree, on which for many years the eagles had their nests 


and hatched their young. The tree was blown down, but the stump 
of it remained as late as 1899. There and at Mt. Patrick, that high 
and steep end of Berry Mountain — about a mile north — these birds 
bred and reared their young for many years. Since the pine tree 
is no more they still have their habitat at Mt. Patrick, and during 
the summer of 19 19 Mr. Bowman, the owner of the island, ob- 
served six of them, while during 1920 he could locate but one pair. 
He has often seen them dart from the air at great speed and dive 
for fish, almost always with success, coming up with a large fish 
in their talons. One of the largest of the eagles in the Zoological 
Gardens at Philadelphia for many years was captured at Berry's 
Falls, above the island and below Mt. Patrick, having hurt its wing 
in diving for fish. Just below this point is where William Mont- 
gomery established his ferry, soon after 1827, the village there 
still bearing that name. On the Dauphin County side this ferry 
was known as Morehead's. 


Landscape showing the junction of the Juniata and Susquehanna Rivers, the Clark's 

Ferry Dam and Bridge, and Duncan's Island. 


WHO the first white man was that set foot upon the soils of 
present Perry County must forever remain a mystery, for 
there were no records kept of matters of that nature. 
However, it must have been some trader or adventurer. In the 
davs of the early settlement of the province the Indians even from 
afar journeyed to the seaboard to trade with the newcomers. The 
skins and furs they brought became so valuable abroad that, many 
years before settlements in the interior were even dreamed of, the 
trader traveled the fastnesses of the mountains and ascended the 
rivers in quest of gain. Often the worst class of men went into 
the business of trading and penetrating the forests, built up a 
business with the Indians. 

There is record of James LeTort, a trader who "went out" from 
Carlisle as early as 1727. As the "Allegheny Path" was the route 
of travel to "Allegheny on the branch of the Ohio," where he 
traded, he was evidently among the first white men to travel this 
territory. LeTort's date of settlement at Carlisle is said to have 
been in 1720. By 1735 there were over twenty regular traders 
journeying back and forth across the county to the Ohio 

In fact, even earlier — as early as 1704, Joseph Jessup, James 
LeTort, Peter Bazalion, Martin Chartier and Nocholas Goden, all 
Frenchmen, were traders with the Indians on the Susquehanna 
and with those west of the Alleghenies, via the old Indian trail, 
supposed even then to have been the "Allegheny Path." 

That traders even carried on a traffic in rum at that early day is 
substantiated by a protest made July 23, 1727, at a council held at 
Philadelphia by the Chiefs of the Five Nations, with Madame 
Montour as interpreter. It follows : 

"They desire that there may be no settlements made up Susquehannah 
higher than Pextan (now Harrisburg), and that none of the settlers there- 
abouts be suffered to sell or keep any rum there, for that being the road 
by which their people go out to war, they are apprehensive of mischief if 
they meet with liquor in these parts. They desire also, for the same rea- 
sons, that none of the traders be allowed to carry any rum to the remoter 
parts where James Letort trades, that is Allegheny, on the branch of the 
Ohio. And this they desire may be taken notice of, as the minds of the 
chiefs of all the Five Nations, for it is all those nations that now speak 
by them to all our people." 

After considering the matter over night the governor, on the 
following day, replied, through the same interpreter : 



"We have not hitherto allowed any settlement to be made above Pextan, 
but, as the young people grow up, they will spread, of course, yet it will 
not be very speedily. The governor, however, will give orders to them all 
to be civil to those of the Five Nations, as they pass that way, though it 
would be better if they would pass Susquehannah above the mountains. 
The sale of rum shall be prohibited both there and at Allegheny; but the 
woods are so thick and dark we cannot see what is done in them. The 
Indians may stave any rum they find in the woods, but, as has been said, 
they must not drink or carry any away." 

These old documents are the basis for the inference that pio- 
neers were even then presuming to settle above the Kittatinny or 
Blue Mountain; at least, the Indians were apprehensive and were 
early going on record as opposed to any such aggression. 

More than one of these traders had ulterior motives. The 
French and the English were contending for the lands of the great 
West, and to the Quaker — who largely ruled the province — it be- 
came almost a necessity, owing to religious convictions and per- 
sonal interests, that traders' licenses be given only to English set- 
tlers and traders and to those of the Protestant faith, barring the 
French Papists and with them communication to the French on the 

The traders carried their goods on packhorses and the Indians 
were an easy prey to their cupidity and avarice. In fact, many of 
the early troubles of the province were reaped by reason of seed 
sown by unprincipled and inconsiderate traders. Among promi- 
nent early traders were George Croghan, Thomas McKee, Jack 
Armstrong, Francis Ellis, and William Baskins. 

Of Three Provincials. 

So closely were three early interpreters associated — one the first 
authorized settler of the territory which now embraces Perry 
County — with the provincial life of the district that it is deemed 
expedient to briefly give a few facts about them and their actions 
during that important epoch of Pennsylvania life, when "the bor- 
der" was the term used in referring to the lands along the Kitta- 
tinny or Blue Mountains.. The names of Conrad Weiser, George 
Croghan, and Andrew Montour are inseparably associated with the 
pioneer life of the section, as well as of the province in general. 

Conrad Weiser, the Diplomatic Interpreter. 
Conrad Weiser, of all the Indian interpreters who were inter- 
ested in this territory, was the most prominent. In fact, he was 
the most prominent in the provincial annals of Pennsylvania. 
That he crossed and recrossed the county's territory via the old 
Indian trail past Gibson's Rock there is evidence. He kept a diary, 
and in August, 1754, he stopped at Andrew Montour's, the fol- 
lowing entry being dated September 1 of that year: 



"Crossed the Kittatinny Mountains at George Croghan's (now Ster- 
rett's) Gap and Sherman's Creek, and arrived that day at Andrew Mon- 
tour's, accompanied (from Harris' Ferry) by himself, the half-king, an- 
other Indian and my son. I found at Andrew Montour's about fifteen In- 
dians, men, women and children, and more had been there, but had gone. 

"Andrew's wife had killed a sheep for these some days ago. She com- 
plained that the Indians had done great damage to the Indian corn, which 
was now ready to roast." 

Weiser had much to do with the Indian affairs which attended 
the early settlement of Perry County soil. Three different pro- 
vincial governors had entrusted him with manifold Indian affairs 
where diplomacy was required and Weiser, the peacemaker, had 
succeeded. What William Penn preached about treating the In- 
dians squarely Conrad Weiser practiced. Had he not induced the 
Five Nations to remain neutral, and had they cast their lot with 
the French the chances are that to-day we would be a French de- 
pendency, as the occasion for the Revolution might not have arisen, 
and we would have likely remained a more or less weak French 
dependency instead of a virile English-speaking nation which soon 
became independent. When George Washington came to Berks 
County in 1760 to attend the funeral of Conrad W r eiser, the future 
father of his country stood at the open grave and made the re- 
mark, "Here lies a man whom posterity will never forget." 
Weiser was a farmer, an interpreter, a trader and a merchant, 
having a store in Reading. As he was so great a factor in the In- 
dian negotiations relating to the Perry County territory it is 
deemed .expedient to give this concise account in this book. 

He was born in Germany in 1696, and came to America with his 
parents during the reign of Queen Anne, when fourteen years of 
age. His father was a blacksmith and lived on the Mohawk River, 
near a settlement of the Mohawk Indians. Conrad was sent by his 
father to reside with an Indian named Tajuajanont, that he might 
learn the Indian tongue. He became popular with the Indians and 
obtained great influence over them even as a boy. When twenty- 
six he was adopted by the family of the Turtles, a distinctive caste. 
In 1729 he came to Pennsylvania, and for the remaining thirty 
years of his life he was connected with the provincial government 
of Pennsylvania as an interpreter. He made his home — but he 
was seldom there — at Heidelberg, in Lancaster (now Berks ) 
County. His duties kept him continually going to the most distant 
localities, and sometimes farther than the boundaries of the prov- 
ince, to attend conferences with the Indians, principally the Six 
Nations. As a man of honor and trust he had the implicit confi- 
dence of both the settlers and the Indians. He was withal, adroit, 
skillful and diplomatic. 

In March, 1748, instructions were given to Weiser for a pro- 
jected trip to the Ohio, the object being to cement further the good- 


will of the Indians for the English. As he was ready for depar- 
ture the Provincial Council sent for him and delayed the trip. 
George Croghan was ready with twenty pack horses laden with 
goods for the Indians and, on learning of Weiser's detention, went 
alone, but returned in time to accompany him later in the summer 
on his mission. It was August 1 1 before Weiser finally got started 
from Heidelberg, and he undertook the trip with misgivings, as he 
considered it a perilous journey, and only the necessity caused him 
to go at all. On this trip he passed over the famous "Allegheny 


Photo by Win. A. liberty. 
This road is on the old "Allegheny Path" of Indian Days. The part shown is within 
a quarter-mile of the historic Gibson Mill, where Chief Justice John Bannister Gibson 

was born. 

Path," that old Indian trail which crossed Perry County territory 
to the great West. In a letter to Richard Peters, secretary of the 
province, dated "Tuscarora Path, August 15, 1748," he says, 
among other things: "I may be obliged to pay the debt of human 
nature before I get home," which shows that his duties must have 
been of a telling nature, as he was then but fifty-two years of age. 
However, he escaped such misfortune and lived over a decade, 
dying in 1760. While traders crossed this "path" before, yet Con- 
rad Weiser is the first white man to visit Perry County soil who 
has left a record of it. 

For his first employment as an interpreter, in 1731, he was al- 
loted forty shillings as payment. When Reading, Pennsylvania, 
was laid out, in 1748, Conrad Weiser was appointed one of the 


commissioners for that purpose, and built a house and store there 
which stood until recent years. One of the men who accompanied 

Weiser on one of these trips through Perry County territory is 
named as William Franklin, a son of Benjamin Franklin, and who 
later became governor of New Jersey. 

George Croghan, Trader and Interpreter. 

Of the men who had much to do with Indian affairs in what is 
now Perry County, next in importance to Conrad Weiser stood 
George Croghan, the trader and interpreter. He was an Irishman 
by birth and came to this country in 1742, stopping at the Harris 
Ferry (now Harrisburg) for a while. Soon after becoming an 
Indian trader he located in Cumberland County, near what is now 
Hogestown, and about eight miles from Harris' Ferry. He first 
traded in a rather restricted district, the limits of which were to 
Aughwick (near Mt. Union) and Path Valley, later going as far 
as the Ohio River. As early as June, 1747, he is mentioned "as 
a considerable trader." His long residence among Indians enabled 
him to become thoroughly familiar with both the life and the habits 
of the Delaware and Shawanese tribes. For that reason he became 
invaluable to the province. Later on he is supposed to have lived 
at Sterrett's Gap for a time, as the gap was long known as Cro- 
ghan's. Afterwards he removed to Aughwick. 

His first letter while in the employ of the province is dated 
"May 26th, 1747," and is addressed to Richard Peters, secretary 
of the province. With it he enclosed a letter from the Six Nations, 
some wampum and a French scalp taken along Lake Erie. 

Governor Hamilton, in a letter to Governor Hardy, dated July 
5, 1756, in speaking of Croghan, who was at one time suspected of 
being a spy in the pay of the French, says: 

"There are many Indian traders with Braddock— Croghan among others, 
who acted as a captain of the Indians under a warrant from General 
Braddock, and I never heard of any objections to his conduct in that 
capacity. For many years he had been very largely concerned in the Ohio 
trade, was upon that river frequently, and had a considerable influence 
among the Indians, speaking the language of several nations, and being 
very liberal, or rather, profuse, in his gifts to them, which, with the losses 
he sustained by the French, who seized great quantities of his goods, and 
by not getting the debts due him from the Indians, he became bankrupt, 
and since has lived at a place called Aughwick, in the back parts of the 
province, where he generally had a number of the Indians with him, for 
the maintenance of whom the province allowed him sums of money from 
time to time, but not to his satisfaction. After this he went, by my order, 
with these Indians, and joined General Braddock, who gave the warrant 
I have mentioned. 

"Since Braddock's defeat, he returned to Aughwick, where he remained 
till an act of assembly was passed here granting him a freedom of arrest 
for ten years. This was done that the province might have the benefit of 
his knowledge of the woods and his influence among the Indians; and 


immediately thereupon, while I was last at York, a captain's commission 
was given to him, and he was ordered to raise men for the defense of the 
western frontier, which he did in a very expeditious manner, but not so 
frugally as the commissioners for disposing of the public money thought 
he might have done. He continued in the command of one of the com- 
panies he had raised, and of Fort Shirley, on the western frontier, about 
three months ; during which time he sent by my direction Indian messen- 
gers to the Ohio for intelligence, but never produced me any that was very 
material; and having a dispute with the commissioners about some ac- 
counts between them, in which he thought himself ill-used, he resigned 
his commission, and about a month ago informed me that he had not re- 
ceived pay upon General Braddock's warrant, and desired my recommen- 
dation to General Shirley, which I gave him, and he set off directly for 
Albany; and I hear he is now at Onondago with Sir William Johnston." 

On his return from the Johnston conference he bore a commis- 
sion as a deputy agent of Indian affairs. 

Croghan had settled permanently at Aughwick in 1754 and had 
built the fort and stockade there. He was appointed by the prov- 
ince, in 1755, to locate three forts in what was then Cumberland 
County — one at Patterson's, on the Juniata; one at or near Lewis- 
town, to be known as Fort Granville, and one at Sideling Hill, now 
Bedford County. He recruited men and garrisoned them very 
quickly. In December of 1754 he had written Secretary Peters, 
asking that no one sell liquor to the Indians on account of the 
bad consequences, but admitting that he gave them a keg once a 
month for a frolic. As an official he was noted for promptness. 
After the evacuation of Fort Pitt we find Croghan there for a 
while. On a trip down the Ohio the French captured him and 
took him to Detroit. When liberated he returned to New York. 
He died in 1782. In March, 1749, he was appointed a justice of 
the peace of Lancaster County, to which the soil of Cumberland 
yel belonged. In 1748 there is record of him having a trading 
house on the Ohio. Croghan and Andrew Montour were largely 
associated in business. 

France claimed the vast country west of the Alleghenies, watered 
by the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, and was attempting to estab- 
lish her claim by locating military posts from the great lakes to 
the Mississippi and along the Ohio and Allegheny Rivers. The 
Indian tribes were numerous and war-like. Croghan saw the im- 
portance of detaching them from the French by means of presents 
and the most favorable trading terms. His suggestions were wisely 
heeded by the Provincial Council. He had a thorough knowledge 
of all the Indian trails and the territory of the tribes between the 
Susquehanna and the Ohio. At Carlisle, on April 4, 1756, he filed 
an account of his "losses occasioned by the French and Indians 
driving the English traders off the Ohio." While two of the items 
of probable great value have no actual valuation named, those which 
do total 881 pounds. 


( )n I une 27, 1767, Croghan and two kinsmen petitioned the New 
York Council, on behalf of themselves and others, to purchase 
40,000 acres of land between Otsego Lake and "Caniadcuagy" 
Lake, and between the head branches of the Susquehanna. On 

November 25, 1767, a return was made of a survey for him and 
his associates for 100,000 acres. 

In fact, the journals of George Croghan are an epitome of the 
Indian history of the period. In 1750, according to it, he was on 
the Ohio, enroute to the Shawnee towns ; the next season he out- 
witted Joincaire on the Allegheny. In 1754 he was on the Ohio, 
after Washington had passed, and in 1760-61 he was on a trip to 
Detroit, via Lake Erie, in the company of Roger's Rangers. In 
1765 he toured down the Ohio towards Illinois and was captured 
by Ouiatanon, later making peace with Pontiac and returning. 

Next to Sir William Johnson, George Croghan was the most 
prominent figure among the British Indian agents during the pe- 
riod of the later French wars and Pontiac's conspiracy. A pio- 
neer trader, traveler and government agent, no other man of his 
time knew as much of the coming great West and the counter cur- 
rents, intrigues, etc., connected therewith. It was as deputy of Sir 
William Johnson that he conducted the difficult negotiations at 
Fort Pitt and Detroit in 1758-61 and those in Illinois in 1765, by 
which Pontiac was brought to terms. His winning adherents for 
the English among the wavering allies of the French, beyond the 
bounds of the province, at Sandusky and Lake Erie, was but one 
of his diplomatic feats. He first won the attention of Conrad 
Weiser, who recommended him to the provincial authorities, where 
his first service began in 1747, continuing through the active years 
of his life. At the beginning of the Revolution he appeared as a 
patriot, but later became the object of suspicion, and in 1778 he 
was proclaimed officially by the colony as a public enemy. 

Andrew Montour, First Authorized Settler. 

Andrew Montour was the first authorized settler of the lands 
which now comprise Perry County. He was a half-breed, the old- 
est son of Madame Montour, and the brother of the celebrated 
Catharine Montour. There was a conference held at George Cro- 
ghan's (Sterrett's Gap) in May, 1750. and among those present 
were Richard Peters, secretary of the province ; Conrad Weiser, 
James Galbreath, George Stevenson, William Wilson, Hermanns 
Alricks, George Croghan, Andrew Montour, three Indian delegates 
from the Five Nations, and one from the Mohawks, when the ef- 
fort was made to drive from the lands north of the Kittatinny 
Mountain those who had settled there, the territory not having as 
yet been purchased from the Indians. 


They were driven from the lands on which they had settled, and 
on April 18, 1752, Andrew Montour was commissioned by the 
governor to settle and reside upon these Indian lands, the Indians 
on July 2, 1750, having petitioned for such occupation, and ar- 
rangements having been made with them for such occupation, at 
a place considered most central, to see that the lands were not set- 
tled upon and to warn off any who had presumed to settle there. 
He was also to report the names of any who did settle there that 
they might be prosecuted. He chose to settle on a stream which to 
this day bears his name, Montour's run, flowing through Tyrone 
Township. Just how honest Montour was in fulfilling this respon- 
sible position is a matter of conjecture, but there is evidence that 
the Indians were still protesting a year later at a Carlisle council 
about encroachments. In fact, Montour was not only suspected 
by the provincial authorities of neglecting his duty here, but he- 
was on more than one occasion suspected of double dealing with 
the Indians of the West and the province. 

He was present at the conference at George Croghan's probably 
in the capacity of an interpreter for Tohonady Huntho, the repre- 
sentatives of the Mohawks from Ohio, for he was an expert in- 
terpreter, speaking the language of the various Ohio tribes as well 
as the Iroquois. His name will be found in our Indian chapters. 
He was an interpreter and later a trader. Hanna, in The Wilder- 
ness Trail, says: "Madame Montour and her son, Andrew Mon- 
tour, were the most picturesque characters in the colonial history 
of Pennsylvania." 

There is evidence that William Patterson, John and Joseph 
Scott, James Kennedy, Alexander Roddy, Thomas Wilson and 
< 'hers bad located in Sherman's Valley during 1753, not a great 
distance from the Montour place, but whether he notified the au- 
thorities is not known, but it is a fact that be brought in his 
brother-in-law, William Dason, and allowed him to locate a claim, 
according to an affidavit of William Patterson some years there- 

His mother, the famous Madame Montour, was not a daughter 
of a governor of Canada, as sometimes stated. Her father, 
Pierre Couc, a Frenchman, emigrated to Canada. By an Indian 
wife lie had a number of children, some of whom took the name 
of Montour. In 1694 bis son, Lewis Couc. or Montour, was se- 
verely wounded by the Mohawks, near Fort Lamotte, on Lake 
Champlain. Madame Montour (a daughter of Lewis), then a 
ten-year-old girl, is supposed to have been captured at this time 
by the Five Nations and adopted. Her first appearance in history 
is at an Albany conference, August 24, 171 1, where she acted as 
interpreter. She seems to have been educated. She married 
Carondowana, or the "Big Tree," who had adopted the name of 


Robert Hunter, governor of New York. He was of the Oneida 
tribe, a great captain of the Five Nations, and fell at the hands of 
the Catawbas in 1729. When a treaty was made in Philadelphia in 
1734 the proprietess of the province publicly condoled with the 
widow — a rather belated function, as viewed in our day. She 
was handsome and spoke French, being the object of some social 
activity while in Philadelphia. Her duplicity later became apparent 
to the provincial authorities. 

The settlement of Andrew Montour on Montour's run was 
never surveyed to him, although he took out a warrant for 143 
acres adjoining the site of Landisburg. By a warrant dated July 
11, 1761, he was granted 1,500 acres of land on the Juniata River 
in what is now Mifflin County. He took it in two separate tracts, 
the aggregate of which was over 2,500 acres. His Indian name 
was Sattelihu. In 1753 the French had set a price of £100 on his 
head. In the French and Indian War he was a captain of a com- 
pany of Indians on the English side. He accompanied Conrad 
Weiser on his mission to the settlements of the Six Nations. He 
was for almost forty years in the service of Pennsylvania, Vir- 
ginia, and under Sir William Johnson. He often accompanied the 
Moravian missionaries, Count Zinzendorf and Bishop Spangen- 
burg, to the Indian towns. To Count Zinzendorf posterity is in- 
debted for a pen picture of Andrew Montour. His description : 
"His face is like that of a European, but marked with a broad 
Indian ring of bear's grease and paint drawn completely around it. 
He wears a coat of fine cloth of cinnamon color, a black necktie 
with silver spangles, a red satin vest, pantaloons, over which hangs 
his shirt ; shoes and stockings, a hat and brass ornaments, some- 
thing like the handle of a basket, suspended from his ears." He 
died prior to 1775. 

Andrew Montour's first wife was a daughter of Allumoppies, 
King of the Delawares. The Province of Pennsylvania educated 
his children in Philadelphia as proteges of Governor Robert 
1 funter Morris. These were the first children to be sent away to 
school from the soil which now comprises Perry County. Even 
in that day the call for an education was in the atmosphere of 
these lands. 

He is first mentioned by Conrad Weiser in 1744 when he inter- 
preted his Iroquois into Delaware. He assisted in nearly all the 
important Indian negotiations from that time until the treaty of 
Fort Stanwix in 1768, being employed in turn by the Pennsyl- 
vania, Virginia, and New York governments and the Ohio Com- 
pany. In 1754 he was with George Washington at the surrender 
of Fort Necessity. Several times he warned the settlers of im- 
pending raids, among other services bringing word of the Pontiac 
outbreak. He accompanied Major Rogers as captain of Indian 


forces, when the latter went, to take possession of Detroit, and in 
1764 commanded a party against the recalcitrant Delawares. He 
received for his services several grants of land in western Penn- 
sylvania, as well as money. 

In the autumn of 1750 Conrad Weiser reported to the governor 
of the province that the French agent Joincaire was on his way to 
the Ohio with a present of goods and orders from the governor 
of Canada to drive out all English traders. Governor Hamilton 
detailed George Croghan and Andrew Montour to hasten thither 
and by use of a small present and promise of more to try and 
counteract the intrigues of the French and retain the Indians in 
the English interest. 

At a meeting of the commissioners of the province at Carlisle, 
October 1, 1753, Montour was associated with such illustrious 
lights as Richard Peters, Isaac Norris, and Benjamin Franklin. 
Conrad Weiser said of Montour "that he was faithful, knowing 
and prudent." He operated among the more western Indians and 
was rewarded financially for keeping track of their movements. 

While Andrew Montour was sometimes under suspicion of 
double dealing he always maintained his position with the provin- 
cial government in one capacity or another. In proof of his con- 
nection at the time of the French and Indian troubles, also of his 
actual residence in what is now Perry County before the Albany 
treaty of July 6, 1754, as the authorized representative of the 
provincial authorities, the following letter is here reproduced : 

Sherman's Creek, 16th May, 1754. 

Sir: T once more take upon me the liberty of informing you that our 
Indians at Ohio are expecting every day the armed forces of this province 
against the French, who, by their late encroachments, is likely to prevent 
their planting, and thereby render them impossible of supporting their 
families. And you may depend upon it as a certainty, that our Indians 
will not strike the French, unless this province (or New York) engage 
with them ; and that by sending some number of men to their immediate 
assistance. The reasons are plain ; to wit : that they don't look upon 
their late friendship with Virginia, sufficient to engage them with a war 
with the French ; I therefor think, with submission, that to preserve out- 
Indian allies tbis province ought instantly to send out some men, either 
less or more, which I have good reason to hope, would have the desired 
effect; otherwise, I doubt there will, in a little time, be an entire separa- 
tion; the consequences of which you are best able to judge, &c. I am in- 
formed by my brother, who has lately come from the Lakes, that there is 
at that place a great number of French Indians, preparing to come down 
to the assistance of the French, at Ohio. I am likewise informed, by a 
young Indian man (who, by my brother's directions, spent some days with 
the French at Monongahela), that they expect a great number of French 
down the river very soon. I have delayed my journey to Ohio and waited 
with great impatience for advice from Philadelphia, but have not yet re- 
ceived any. I am now obliged to go to Colonel Washington, who has sent 
for me many days ago, to go with him to meet the half-king, Monacatootha, 
and others, that are coming to meet the Virginia companies ; and, as they 


think, sonic from Pennsylvania — and would have been glad to have known 
the design of this province, in these matters, before 1 had gone. 

I am, sir, your very humble servant, 

Andrew Montour. 
To Gov. H. R. Morris. 

He had correspondence with the governor and council, and this 
letter to the governor was copied from Montour's autograph letter 
on file in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth at the 
State Capitol in Harrisburg. 

As early as 1744 we find that "Andrew Montour, Madame Mon- 
tour's son, interpreted an Indian message from the Mohawk lan- 
guage to that of the Delawares." During the same year he was 
also the interpreter in the Jack Armstrong murder case, which ap- 
pears earlier in this book. In that year we also find him as captain 
of a party of Iroquois warriors, marching against the Catawbas, 
of Carolina. lie fell sick and was obliged to return to Shamokin. 
In May, 1745, he accompanied Weiser and Shikellamy to Onon- 
daga with a message and instructions from the governor of the 
province. In June, 1748, he was introduced by Weiser to the 
president of the council of the province, at Philadelphia, and rec- 
ommended as "faithful and prudent." During 1754 George Wash- 
ington sent for Montour to meet him at Ohio, and he (Montour) 
wrote to Secretary Peters, of the province, from his residence on 
Sherman's Creek, the above letter, urging the immediate necessity 
of sending men and arms to resist the impending French invasion. 
Montour and George Croghan proceeded to Monongahela and 
there, on June 9, found Washington. He commanded a mixed 
company of whites and Indians under Washington. 

At a conference, October 24, 1759, at Pittsburgh, Montour and 
George Croghan met General Stanwix, and Montour lit the "pipe 
of peace." In 1761, May 22, at a conference at the State House 
in Philadelphia, Montour was the official interpreter. In 1768, at 
a conference at Fort Pitt, between George Croghan, deputy agent 
Indian affairs, and the Six Nations, Delawares and Shawnees, 
Montour was the interpreter. He filled the same position October 
24, 1768, at a great congress with the Indians at Fort Stanwix. 

During 1769, on November 3, at the junction of Loyalsock 
Creek and the West Branch, a tract of land was surveyed to An- 
drew Montour. It contained 880 acres and was called Montour's 


THE frontier of the early Eighteenth Century was still east 
of the Susquehanna. Beyond lay the forests, the hills, the 
rivers and bands of Indians sometimes hostile when they 
emerged. By the middle of the century adventurers — mostly 
Scotch-Irish — had carried settlement across that river and were 
clamoring for the right to cross the Kittatinny or Blue Mountain 
to settle. When that section was thrown open they not only quickly 
settled it, but passed on, and crossed the Alleghenies to the Ohio. 
While that was happening in Pennsylvania the New Englanders 
made their way to the Mohawk Valley of New York, then on to 
the Seneca territory and along the shores of the Great Lakes, and 
to the south through the Cumberland pass and over the hills of the 
Carolinas was trickling civilization from the southern seaboard to 
Kentucky and Tennessee. 

*The date of the opening of the laud office for the settlement of 
the lands which comprise Perry County was February 3, 1755, 
early in the very year of Braddock's defeat, and almost coincident 
with the time when that noted general was moving towards Brad- 
dock's Field — as it later came to be known — where the British, 
because of their pride and contempt for the advice of experienced 
officers, paid for the Indian dissatisfaction of the previous year at 
Albany, in connection with the purchase of these very lands. Has 
it ever occurred to the reader how closely the Perry County lands 
are related to the historic Braddock defeat? 

Settlers had come in in large numbers during 1755; but owing 
to the defeat of Braddock and the attending defection of the sav- 
ages, which created a reign of terror and bloodshed throughout the 
province, few claims were located and settled upon between that 
year and 1761. While there was still much land open to settle- 
ment south of the Blue or Kittatinny Mountain there was a scar- 
city of water as compared to the north side. These earliest set- 

*Legendary and traditional information, unless backed up by supporting 
facts, is not to be relied upon. Various persons have furnished statements 
that their ancestors were settlers of the Sherman's Valley and other parts 
of Perry County as early as 1741, 1743, and various other dates. Careful 
investigation has been made in provincial records, and nowhere can there 
be found any permanent settlements prior to the late summer of 1753, save 
those who came in as squatters and intruders and were dispossessed, men- 
tion of which appears in the chapters relating to the Indians, elsewhere in 
this book. 



tiers were mostly Scotch- Irish, and it is a remarkable fact that 
they invariably sought lands near the headwaters of streams, a 
characteristic likely instilled deep in the race. If they could but 
get their habitations near springs or running water they regarded 
it of more advantage than having them on more fertile soil where 
the matter of water was a question. And it must be remembered 
that in Perry County these springs and streams come welling to 
the surface of the earth, pure, and clear, and cold, from vast sub- 
terranean caverns in the heart of the hills. 

Prof. Wright, in his history, states that there is not a single 
farm in Perry County of one hundred acres or more which does 
not have running water upon it. 

With these early Scotch-Irish came a few English, many Ger- 
mans coming in later. The provincial government at first made 
an effort to place the different nationalities in different sections, 
hut soon found it difficult of accomplishment and a failure when 
done. The Scotch-Irish, as spoken of in America, are not Irish 
at all, but Scotch and English, who fled religious persecution at 
home at the hands of Charles I ( 1714-1720) and found refuge in 
Ireland, and their descendants. The term is of American origin 
and use and is identical with the English term, Ulstermen. It de- 
notes no mixture of blood of the two races, as they did not inter- 
marry. They entered Ireland and took up the estates of Irish 
rebels, confiscated under Queen Elizabeth and James I. James I, 
by the way, was king of Scotland, and as James VI encour- 
aged his Presbyterian subjects to do this. Many of them had mi- 
grated early in the Seventeenth Century, about seventy-five years 
before the founding of Pennsylvania. Towards the middle of 
the same century Cromwell confiscated Irish lands and emigration 
increased further, many English being among them. The Scotch 
were principally Saxon in blood and Presbyterian in religion, de- 
vout Christians, while the native Irish are Celtic in blood and Ro- 
man Catholic in religion. The races are distinct in Ireland to this 
day, which accounts largely for the eternal Irish question, which 
at" this very time (1920) has the British Kingdom at wit's end. 

The settlement of Irish and Germans north of the Kittatinny 
was often the cause of neighborhood and family feuds, which ex- 
isted even after the organization of the county, as there is record 
of such a fight in the spring of 1823, when one of the participants, 
fearing that he "had killed the dutchman," fled to Indiana, where 
he became an honored citizen. 

In his Making of Pennsylvania, Sydney George Fisher says : 
"The thought and enterprise of New England has been built up 
entirely by Congregationalists ; well on to one-half of the social 
fabric of Pennsylvania has been built up by Presbyterians, and 
there is scarcely a state in the Union where the influence of Cal- 


vinism had not been powerfully felt." In the original settlement 
of Perry County territory this Scotch-Irish element was a large 
factor and their descendants are among the foremost in its affairs 
and among those sent out to wider fields, one of whom, when this 
is written, occupies the Vice-Presidential chair of the United 
States. See biography of Thomas R. Marshall further on in this 

The struggle for the possession of the new world was at first 
confined to six nationalities: the Spanish, French, English, Dutch, 
Swedes, and Portuguese. The Germans, distracted by their own 
political divisions, seemed to have no desire to colonize. They 
finally appeared in Pennsylvania half a century after most of the 
English colonies had been established, but they came as immigrants 
under the protection of the Bnijlisli nation, at first encouraged by 
the Quakers, and later by the British Government, says Fisher. 
They came principally from the Palatinate ; from Alsace, Swabia, 
Saxony, and Switzerland. They had been held in more or less 
subjection at home, and many of the earlier immigrants were a 
very crude people. Pastorius tells of the Indians even considering 
them so. He relates : "An Indian promised to sell one a turkey 
ben. Instead he brought an eagle and insisted it was a turkey. 
It was refused, and the Indian to a Swede, a bystander, remarked 
that he thought a German, just arrived, would not know the dif- 
ference." Later they came in larger numbers and of a more in- 
telligent class. The German element, often referred to in our 
state, as the Pennsylvania Dutch, lias been variously estimated as 
composing from one-third to one-half of the population of Penn- 
sylvania, and has had a great influence in the development of the 
state and of Perry County, where their descendants are a thrifty 
and enterprising element. In the blood of thousands of Perry 
Countians and their descendants who have gone abroad is a strain 
of German steadfastness and perseverance which has sent men to 
the gubernatorial chair of not only our own state, but of others, 
and to the highest legislative body in the world. See biographies 
of noted men. In some counties the German element has lived 
unto itself, using the German language, with little or no inter- 
marriage with other elements, thus causing practically no advance- 
ment. This was not so in Perry County. The children attended 
the public schools and soon learned to use English, the parents 
learning it in turn, and to-day of this original German stock not 
one family uses the German language in the home. However, 
about 1890 a German colony located in Watts Township, built a 
small church, and a few of the parents of these families may still 
use it, while the children speak English. The Germans were 
mostly of the Lutheran and Reformed faith. These older settlers 


and their descendants have had considerable contempt for a few 
of the newer who continually talked of "The Fatherland." 

Thomas Kilby Smith, in his "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," 
says of the type of Germans which settled Perry County: 

"The members of the Lutheran and Reformed Churches, who represent 
the second phase of German emigration to Pennsylvania, were of a higher 
type than their predecessors, most of them belonging to the middle classes 
and not to the peasantry, as were the great majority of the sects who pre- 
ceded them. Like the Scotch-Irish and the Welsh, they have mingled with 
the community in general and have been absorbed into the population of 
the state, abandoning any peculiarities of language or custom that they 
may have had at the time of their arrival. They have engaged in various 
occupations, with a tendency, however, to remain in the towns rather than 
in the country districts. Being less numerous than the Pennsylvania Dutch 
and more rapidly assimilated, they have made less impression, as a sepa- 
rate people, on the civilization of the state than the Germans who pre- 
ceded them. Generally speaking, they have been prosperous, have adhered 
closely to their respective churches, relinquished their native tongue, and 
pursued industriously their various occupations. With a few exceptions, 
they have not taken a prominent part in politics or public affairs, except in 
lines of philanthropy, education and music." 

In the matter of noted men from the county the two races, now 
much intermarried, vie with each other as to the number which 
the county has sent forth. 

Speaking of the German element, Prof. Wright, in his history 
(1873), says: "Pfoutz's Valley is still characteristically a Ger- 
man settlement, though there are many persons unable to con- 
verse in any hut the English language. For our fertile soil the 
German is slowly exchanging his language ; his children receive 
an English education in the free schools, without dissent. In fact, 
many of our best scholars were the children of German parents." 
He adds, "Although the soil of Perry County was first settled by 
English-speaking people, the farming population is now largely 
composed of German origin." 

Prof. W. C. Shuman, -formerly of Perry County, in his "Gene- 
alogy of the Shuman Family," says of the Germans: "The Ger- 
mans have profoundly influenced the history of Pennsylvania for 
about 200 years. They have been slow, self -centered and non- 
progressive ; but they have also been honest, industrious and 
thrifty; and in the main, they have been on the right side of all 
great issues." 

The Indian troubles of 1763 again retarded settlement, but the 
victory of the noted Colonel Henry Bouquet in Ohio, in 1764, 
caused the Indians to pretty generally desert the central Pennsyl- 
vania territory, and a tide of immigration from the eastern section 
of the province began, and, owing to imperfect titles to their lands 
in Chester County, later brought to the territory such men as 
John Hench, Jacob Hippie, Jacob Hart man, Frederick Shull and 


Zachariah Rice, whose descendants are legion, and hundreds of 
others. By 1767 many of the best plots were taken, and by 1778 
the greater part of the lands. 

The selling of emigrants into servitude for the payment of their 
passage across the ocean was practiced. George Leonard, an early 
settler of the lands which comprise Perry County, was sold in that 
manner when but six years old, his father having died while aboard 
.and his body cast into the sea, according to the custom. 

The western part of Perry County, generally speaking, im- 
presses one with the fact that it was settled before the eastern sec- 
tion, or the part lying between the rivers, and records verify it. All 
through western Sherman's Valley are to be found stone houses 
more than a century old, built by artisans whose work has stood 
the test, whose wage was likely a very meagre one and whose hours 
possibly were numbered only by the number of hours of daylight. 
Their work will ever stand a monument to early craftsmanship. 
At only one other part of the county are there many of these old 
landmarks, and that is Millerstown. (See chapter on Millerstown.) 
The one on the Solomon Bower farm, in Jackson Township, now 
owned by Assemblyman Clark Bower, was built in 1794, when 
George Washington was President. An end was built to it in 1834 
and a second story added in 1870. The large stone house on the 
C. A. Anderson farm, at Andersonburg, is another fine example. 
It was built in 1820. The adjoining barn was erected in 1821. 

It is difficult for the present generation, with its modern homes, 
many lighted by electricity and gas ; with water piped through- 
out and a multitude of accessories to make life easy and comfort- 
able ; with its modern method of travel in parlor cars at fifty 
miles an hour; with automobiles equipped and finished finer than 
the grandest carriage, and traveling thirty miles an hour (accord- 
ing to law) ; with stores and shops existing at which anything 
may be purchased ; with telephones in one's home whereby he may 
talk to another state in a few minutes, and hundreds of other con- 
veniences unnamed and unenumerated, to realize the extreme needs 
and crude methods and equipment of these pioneers of civilization, 
who braved the rigors of the early winters and the dangers of the 
redskins to build in the wilderness a home and to wrest from the 
savage a state. 

When the pioneer wended his way over the Kittatinny or Blue 
Mountain the country was a vast forest, whose creeks and rivers 
were destitute of bridges and could only be crossed with safety 
at given points, and not at all when the waters were high. There 
were no roads, but only the trails and paths used by the red men 
and the traders. There were no houses, no cleared lands, no 
schools, nothing but the eternal stillness which one yet experiences 
when traveling afoot in the fastnesses of the mountain. Upon 


entering the forest their very first act was to cut the timber and 
hew boards with an axe for the erection of their homes, for at 
first there were even no sawmills. Instead of their floors being 
sawed and planed, as are ours, they were split and hewed. Indeed, 
there were some that had no floors save the earth upon which they 
were built, even the old church at Dick's (jap being floorless. 

While the little log house was yet in course of erection the trees 
were being felled on "the clearing," which was to be the first field 
of the new home, and by the time of its finishing a "patch" was 
ready for planting or sowing. Then, while it was growing, there 
were other lands to clear, a barn and other buildings to be built ; 
and eternal vigilance was necessary to prevent the coming of the 
savage with his tomahawk, in search of scalps. There was no 
machinery and the crudest methods of slow and tedious operation 
were necessary to the raising and threshing of crops. In fact, the 
threshing of a crop, which is now done in a day or two on the 
great majority of farms, then required months, as the tramping 
out of grain on the barn floors, with horses, and the use of the 
"flail" were the only available methods of extracting the grain. 

The furnishings of the pioneers were as crude as the cabins 
themselves, the tables and benches being of wood, split and hewed, 
until the advent of the "up-and-down" sawmill. Dishes, plates and 
spoons were of pewter, bowls were fashioned from wood, and 
squashes and gourds supplied receptacles for water. The clothing 
was of homespun and homemade, the women and girls being busy 
with spinning wheel and needle during the long winters. The men 
dressed in hunting shirts and moccasins, later in knee pants with 
buckles. When the first schools were established the clearing of 
lands and threshing during the long winters, and the spinning and 
sewing to make the family clothing, kept many from school, even 
the few months when schools were in session. Tallow candles 
were used as lights, and there are many men and women yet living 
who can well remember when their people used tallow candles as 
their only lights, save perchance a rare oil lamp "when company 

Gradually roads w T ere built and travel was either afoot, on horse- 
back or by wagon, all of which was slow and required much time. 
Settlements were widely separated and the nearest town was in the 
Cumberland Valley, then known as the "Kittochtinny Valley." 
Large families were the rule and it was no uncommon thing for 
a family to have over a dozen children, five or six children being 
considered a small family. Many of the most prominent families 
of the district were large. To-day the reverse is the case and hun- 
dreds of families in the same territory number from one to three 
children, the family of a half-dozen being considered large. Mr. 
William Morrison, of New Germantown, a man of mature years. 


to whom we are indebted for much information, was the father of 
fifteen, twelve sons in succession, then a daughter, a son and a 
daughter. There were many families of this size and larger. 

The method of heating the first rude homes was the open fire- 
place fashioned from huge stones. There were no matches, fire 
being produced by the use of flint. On many occasions neighbors 
borrowed fire from each other, if located in close proximity. Peo- 
ple yet live who remember this. Over these rude fireplaces swung 
a kettle in which the family meal was boiled. Later air-tight stoves 






i - * ^ 




(Copied from Miniature of 1802, when on their "honeymoon.") 
Joseph Martin (1 77 7-1831), born on the "Big Island" while his father, Capt. Joseph 
Martin was in the Army, his mother being Ann (Nancy) Baskins. The bride, Rachael 
Gillespie (1785-1851), who in later years married secondly Rev. Jacob Gruber, 

circuit rider, 

were introduced, which were also very imperfect at first. Maple 
sugar was extracted from trees during the early spring, and in very 
rare cases its manufacture continues in the county. Hand weaving 
was practiced by the housewife, and there exist to-day throughout 
the county many of the finest counterpanes, of exquisite design, 
heirlooms from a former generation. 

Hospitality, not only to one's kin, but to strangers, was practiced 
everywhere, and exists to a great extent to-day, save that a stranger 
must have credentials, as many of "the gentry" took advantage of 


those who took them in. In fact, hospitality in the early days was 
not confined to any one section, and it is said of our first Presi- 
dent, General Washington, that his family "did not sit alone to 
dinner for twenty years." In the provincial days the public stop- 
ping place was an "ordinary," later it became a "tavern," and still 
later a "hotel," which name it retains, with variations, such as 
"hostelry," "road house," "tea room," etc. 

Some folks attached considerable importance to certain days and 
certain signs, "planting in signs" being largely practiced. The 
modern way of planting in fertile ground, well prepared and duly 
cultivated, seems to be an improvement. These signs were re- 
garded as foretelling the state of the weather, of health, and 
whether seed should be planted. One certain day broke ice if it 
found it, and formed it if there was none (rather a contrary sort 
of day and emblematic of a certain type of people) ; other days 
were "bad days" or "good days" for planting or sowing seeds, 
others for building fences and roofing buildings, and still others 
for slaughtering stock and weaning stock and even babies. It is 
not strange that many of these old notions prevailed, for they 
were bequeathed from sire to son and from mother to daughter 
for centuries ; they came with the Pilgrim and the Cavalier from 
across the sea and formed a sort of tradition among all classes. 
The belief in witchcraft and sorcery is practically gone, yet once in 
too was a part of the belief of many in widely scattered sections 
of the Union. Even in our own day certain customs known to 
our earlier years have since been replaced and proven fallacious, 
and things now generally acceptable will, in the coming years, seem 
as strange to the populace as does witchcraft to us now. 

For many decades Bear's Almanac, a Lancaster publication, was 
a part of the literature of every farm home, and largely con- 
tinues so. 

In the early days the currency was "eleven penny bits," "fi' 
penny bits," "levies" and shillings, eight shillings making one dol- 
lar. The big cents of copper appeared in 1792 and bore on their 
face the head of Washington, and on the reverse side a chain of 
thirteen links, emblematic of the thirteen original states. 

Wild animals roamed at will and some were beasts of prey, 
among them being bears, panthers, wolves, wild cats, etc. Bears 
were seen in Horse Valley as late as 1885. Wolves were bad and 
even the graves had to be covered with stones in early times to 
insure their safety from these animals. "The Narrows," below 
Mt. Patrick, was once a dangerous place owing to its being the 
habitation of wolves. Near Crawley Hill, in Spring Township, 
there is a small area of rocks, probably fifteen feet high, known 
to this day as "the wolf rocks," and which tradition says was so 
named by reason of it having been a rendezvous for wolves when 


they still inhabited the forests. It is yet a den for foxes. The 
Fishing Creek Valley (Rye Township) was a place noted for 
wolves even to the present generation, and there are men of fifty 
years who can remember them. On January 21, 1829, George 
Ilollenbangh, of Toboyne Township, was hunting, and entered a 
cavern in the mountains, but quickly retraced his steps, a bear fol- 
lowing him out. He shot it, and another appeared. It too was 
despatched. He then went for help to carry away the animals, 
when a third appeared and was shot, according to the Perry For- 
ester, Perry County' first paper. 

There is record of a Mr. Magee, who was grandfather of Alex- 
ander Magee, sheriff of Perry County in 1841-43, going to the 
door of his home, in Toboyne Township, one night when he heard 
a scream. He stepped out, axe in hand, and killed a panther, which 
was just ready to pounce upon him. Deer, rabbits and squirrel 
were common, and venison graced the table of the pioneer on 
many occasions. The meats of these animals were salted down 
for use during the long winters. Wild turkeys, pheasants and 
partridges roamed the forests, and during certain seasons wild 
pigeons collected in vast numbers. The streams, unpolluted and 
at first free of dams, were alive with fish, principally bass, pike and 
trout. After the severe winters shad, rockfish, salmon and perch 
ascended the streams, thus probably augmenting a supply of pro- 
visions which had become largely depleted. 

During the summer of 1919 the late George Bryner (born in 
1X32) recalled how his Grandmother Hench, who resided near the 
McMillen farms, in the vicinity of Kistler, Madison Township, 
used to describe the howling of the wolves and tell of using powder, 
which they would ignite at night, to scare the animals from their 
cattle. It appears that wolves scent trouble with the smell of 
powder, as do many other wild animals. 

The Susquehanna and Juniata country was once the home of 
that great and picturesque bird, the American eagle, and to this 
day Bald eagles inhabit the shores, including Perry County terri- 
tory, but in very small numbers. Their passing is attributed to 
the propensity for killing by a certain class of hunters, who never 
should have been permitted to shoulder a gun. The Bald eagle 
was here when the pioneer came, and unmolested, continued until 
the last century was well passed, when they began to be viewed as 
thieves, with the result that only a few stragglers remain. In an 
interesting booklet, by that wonderful lover of outdoor life. Col. 
Henry W. Shoemaker, appears this paragraph relating to the 
method of their passing, which is of interest to this section : 

"Charles Lukens, of Duncan's Island, near the mouth of the Juniata 
River, states that a hunter, now residing at Halifax, killed a Bald eagle 
on Peters' Mountains in 1910. He made ready to take the carcass to Har- 


risburg to claim a bounty, but on learning tbat it was a protected bird 
abandoned the trip, and it is not known what became of the eagle. Charles 
Smith, an intelligent farmer residing on Haldeman's Island, states that it 
was formerly not an extraordinary occurrence to see Bald eagles soaring 
over the island and the river, but for several years he has not seen any. 
The Rev. B. H. Hart, of Williamsport, who owns an island not far from 
Liverpool, says Bald eagles were formerly seen in fair numbers along the 
river and at his i-sland, though he cannot recollect having seen any for 
several years." 

Slowly sailing across the heavens their eagle eyes would detect 
a fish in the water hundreds of yards away, and at one fell swoop 
would fasten it between their beaks, and carry it to their young in 
the crags of the mountain where they nested. Their nests were 
built of sticks and twigs and were huge affairs when compared 
with the nests of other birds. It is related that when a tree upon 
which a pair nested, in a neighboring county, was cut, a small 
wagonload of kindling was gathered from the nest. Naturalists 
tell that these birds would tear down and rebuild their nests en- 
tirely, every third or fourth year, and in the intervening years 
would only rebuild the top or finishing part. 

Passing of the; Buffalo. 

Many, many years ago this land was overrun by great herds of 
Buffalo, especially that portion of Pennsylvania which comprises 
the tablelands lying between the Juniata and Susquehanna Rivers. 
Part of Perry County, of course, is included in this domain, and 
Buffalo Township, Perry County, was named to perpetuate the 
memory thereof. There is a chapter in this book relating to Buf- 
falo Township, which was, by the way, the author's birthplace. 
Its lands belonged to Greenwood Township, which was a part of 
Fermanagh Township — one of the original townships of Cumber- 
land County, when that county was formed. Buffalo Township 
became a separate unit in i/<j<j, the very year in which the illus- 
trious Washington, the first President of the Republic, passed 
away. Even before one of the county's townships was named 
Buffalo, we find in annals relating to the pioneers and the Indians 
the name of Buffalo Creek, which rises in present Madison Town- 
ship, in the section known as Liberty Valley, and flows into the 
Juniata above Newport, and which was most probably named 
by the red men themselves. Then, besides Buffalo Creek and 
Buffalo Township, there is Buffalo Church, Buffalo Mills, New 
Buffalo, etc., within the limits of Perry County. 

In 1655 a man named Vonder Donk published a history, in 
which he said: "Many of the Netherlanders have been far into the 
country more than seventy or eighty leagues from the river and 
seashore. We frequently trade with the Indians who come more 
than ten and twenty days' journey from the interior." He says 


that half of the buffaloes have disappeared and left the country, 

and now "keep mostly to the Southwest, where few people go." 
The heavers, of which eighty thousand are killed annually, are also 
mostly taken far inland, there being few of them near the settle- 

Vast herds of buffalo once roamed the Susquehanna Valley, as 
they later did the plains of the great West, ever receding before 
the westward sweep of the pioneer. W. T. Hornaday says that 
the animals used to roam the country west of the Susquehanna, 
between Harrisburg and Sunbury, and the West Branch country 
of the Susquehanna. Other writers say that as late as 1773 there 
were probably as many as twelve thousand bison in the herds that 
came to this part of the country. Like Terry, Union County per- 
petuates the name in three of its nine townships and in other ways. 
According to Col. Henry W. Shoemaker, along Buffalo Path Run, 
in that county, can be plainly seen the marks made by the herd, al- 
though none have traveled it for almost a century and a half. 

The country between Buffalo Township, in Perry County, and 
the three Buffalo Townships in Union County, and westward in 
northern Snyder and southern Union Counties, will ever be 
memorable as the scene of the "last stand" in Pennsylvania of the 
dwindling buffalo herd, in December, 1799. A coincidence, not 
strange however, is that Buffalo Township was created by the 
Cumberland County court — for Perry was yet a part of Cumber- 
land — within ninety days prior to this incident. Almost four hun- 
dred animals, unable to escape because settlements had grown up 
which entirely surrounded them, had remained hidden in the fast- 
nesses of the mountains to the west of Snyder and Union Coun- 
ties. That last winter of the closing Eighteenth Century was se- 
vere and, desperate for want of food, they braved the Middle 
Creek section of that territory, scenting a barnyard haystack of a 
settler. They broke through the stump fence and trampled to death 
the cattle and sheep within the enclosure. The owner and a neigh- 
bor succeeded in killing four. 

The shots and attacking dogs drove them further down the val- 
ley to a cabin which stood near where Troxelville, Snyder County, 
is now located, being in the northwest section of that county. 
There the wounded leader of the herd, wild with rage, broke down 
the door and entered the cabin. As many as could enter followed. 
They were so tightly jammed in the cabin that the only way to get 
them out was to tear it away and release them. The mangled 
bodies of the wife and children of the owner, crushed beyond de- 
scription, were beneath them when released. 

Naturally this state of affairs needed immediate attention, and 
messengers went up and down the valley summoning hunters to 
help exterminate the herd. Fifty men responded and started to 



hunt the bison which had fled to the mountain. In the meantime 
more snow had fallen and their tracks were obliterated. After a 
two-day search they were found, buried to their necks in snow, 
at a spot near Weikert, along Penn's Creek, in the southwest sec- 
tion of Union County — the "blind end" of Buffalo Valley. Sur- 
rounded by snow of awful depth, almost frozen and at the verge 
of starvation thus perished the last herd of buffalo in the lands of 
William Penn. In January, 1801, a straggler was found and de- 
spatched at Buffalo Crossroads, near Lewisburg. A strange coin- 
cidence in this connection is that the last elk in the state was killed 
near the same spot, though not until almost a century later — 1878. 

Early Maps Showing Locations. 

Modern map makers for the great trunk lines of railroads show 
almost straight lines of these arteries of travel, yet the tourist finds 
his train taking innumerable curves while traveling over these 
"straight lines." Naturally all maps radiate from the given centre 
in the eye of the producer, and it is not strange to find, in the 
many old maps available, some things which are practically cor- 
rect, and much that is drawn from conjecture and description, sur- 
rounding the known locality. The inaccuracies of these old maps, 
with the facilities at hand for securing information, can be much 
more readily excused than the modern ones "with intent afore- 
thought to deceive." A man named Visscher published a map of 
New Netherlands in 1655 which shows with some degree of ac- 
curacy the course of the Susquehanna River, but with no west 
branch of ( it or no Juniata. During the following half century 
about fifteen different maps all contain the same river outline. 
West of the river, about where the Juniata belongs, he locates an 
Indian tribe known as the "Onojutta Haga." 

Lord Baltimore had a map maker named Augustine Herman 
make a map of Maryland for him in 1670, and it shows Maryland 
coming up to the Blue or Kittatinny Mountain, including part of 
the Cumberland Valley. It shows a group of mountains about 
where Perry County is located and a note along the edge carries 
the information that "beyond these mountains the streams run to 
the west, either into the Bay of Mexico or the South Sea ; that 
the first one discovered, a very great stream, is the 'Black Min- 
quas' River (the Ohio), on which lived the tribe of that name; 
that there was a branch of this river (the Conemaugh) opposite 
the Susquehanna (Juniata), which entered at some leagues above 
the fort." In 1698 Gabriel Thomas published a map, which places 
at least a part of Cumberland County in Virginia; in fact, Vir- 
ginia long claimed a large part of western Pennsylvania. 

A man named Nicholas Schull, probably the most noted map 
maker of those early days, made a map of the new county of Cum- 


berland which was authorized by an act of Parliament in January, 
1759. Of the present names we find Kittatinny and Tuscarora 
Mountains, Horse Valley, Juniata and Susquehanna Rivers. 
Where the Cocolamus Creek is located he has a stream named the 
"Kakonalamus Creek." "Shareman's Creek" is also on this map. 
In the Blue Mountain he designates one gap and names it "Steven- 
son's." At a point near the present Perry-Juniata County line a 
lone settler is designated as "Barber's." 

In 1770 a map appeared by W. Schull, with practically the same 
outlines but another settlement marked "Logan's," located on the 
line of the trail from Carlisle to Fort Shirley. The Conococheague 
Mountain is also marked and Logan's appears close to it. Cro- 
ghan's Gap ( Sterrett's) also appears for the first time. Other 
streams added are Juniata Creek, Buffalo Creek and Wild Cat 
Run. Near the site of Millerstown, on the bend of the Juniata 
below Newport, and near Marysville appears the word "Saut." 
(Salt, in Scotch.) 

When the commonwealth was new and its first governor, Thomas 
Mifflin, was in office, a map appeared which contained the names 
of the four townships then existing in what is now the county of 
Perry, as follows : Toboyne, Tyrone, Rye, and Greenwood. 
"Buffalo Hills," "Mahanoy Hill," and "Limestone Ridge" appear 
for the first time. Many mills are already marked, an account of 
which appears in our chapter relating to "Old Landmarks, Mills 
and Industries." 

On a map in the Book of Deeds, page 128, in the office of the 
Secretary of the Commonwealth, the territory opposite the Cove 
and located in Dauphin County, between the Blue and Peters' 
Mountains, is designated as "Saint Anthony's Wilderness." 


IT has virtually been handed down to us from father to son, 
even from Plymouth Rock and Jamestown, that somewhat like 
another nation, we were in a sense a chosen people — that some- 
thing- greater than human foresight, something greater than finite 
wisdom had guided a persecuted people to these shores and be- 
stowed vision and faith upon those in whom rested the stupendous 
and responsible task of erecting a new government upon an un- 
heard of scheme and following a new standard of life. 

Strangely enough, the first suggestion of a union of the Ameri- 
can colonies came from the Province of Pennsylvania, and from 
its proprietor, William Perm, who, as early as 1697, suggested it. 
The pioneers had crossed the ocean to be free, but as the colonies 
grew in size and in trade they found that the same forces that 
drew them from the mother country now drew them together. In 
1754 Benjamin Franklin, another Pennsylvania!!, elaborated upon 
the Penn idea. 

When the first congress of deputies assembled at New York on 
October 7, 1765, the discerning ones saw in it a gleam of coming 
independence. When the heel of British oppression had descended 
with heavy tread upon the rights and privileges of the provinces 
and they arose in their wrath against the mother country, the pio- 
neers who inhabited that part of Cumberland County which is now 
Perry, were unable to offer much cash, as the Indians had twice 
driven them from their homes, scalped and carried off many, stolen 
what they could conveniently remove and burned or destroyed the 
remainder. Under such circumstances they were a people who 
really needed the help of others instead of being called upon for 
help, yet notwithstanding they gave of their substance, and to the 
first blast of the bugle calling recruits they responded. The first 
settlers to return after the second Indian invasion in 1763 went 
back in 1765, so that but ten years had elapsed until the necessity 
arose to defend the colonies. An effort, fathered at Philadelphia, 
to have the different sections of the province send delegates to a 
meeting there on July 15, 1774, to consider the indignities perpe- 
trated upon the provinces, was no doubt responsible for the fol- 
lowing described meeting: 

. Echoing down the centuries is this first official record relating 
to independence coming from Cumberland County, of which the 
Perry County territory was an integral part. England, through 



its German-speaking king, was oppressing the colonies, especially 
New England, and a public meeting "of the freeholders and free- 
men" was held Tuesday, July 12, 1774, at Carlisle, with John 
Montgomery, Esq., in the chair. These resolutions show the pa- 
triotic spirit of those days, just as boys from Perry showed it in 
1918 at Chauteau Thierry and the Argonne Forest in the World 
War, and as it was shown by Perry Countians in all the interven- 
ing wars. The resolutions : 

1. Resolved, That the late act of the Parliament of Great Britain, by 
which the port of Boston is shut up, is oppressive to that town, and sub- 
versive of the rights and liberties of the colony of Massachusetts Bay; 
that the principle upon which the act is founded, is not more subversive 
of the rights and liberties of that colony, than it is of all other British 
colonies in North America; and therefore the inhabitants of Boston are 
suffering in the common cause of all the colonies. 

2. That every vigorous and prudent measure ought speedily and unani- 
mously to be adopted by these colonies for obtaining redress of the griev- 
ances under which the inhabitants of Boston are now laboring; and secur- 
ity from grievance of the same or of a still more severe nature, under 
which they and the other inhabitants of the colonies may, by a further 
operation of the same principle, hereafter labor. 

3. That a congress of the deputies from all colonies will be one proper 
method for obtaining these purposes. 

4. That the same purposes will, in the opinion of this meeting, be pro- 
moted by an agreement of all the colonies not to import any merchandise 
from nor export any merchandise to Great Britain, Ireland or the British 
West Indies, nor to use any merchandise so imported, nor tea imported 
from any place whatever till these purposes shall be obtained ; but that 
the inhabitants of this county will join any restriction of that agreement 
which the General Congress may think it necessary for the colonies to 
confine themselves to. 

5. That the inhabitants of this county will contribute to the relief of 
their suffering brethren in Boston, at any time when they shall receive inti- 
mation that such relief will be most seasonable. 

6. That a committee be immediately appointed from this county to cor- 
respond with the committee of this province, or of the other provinces, 
upon the great objects of the public attention; and to cooperate in every 
measure conducting to the general welfare of British America. 

7. That the committee consist of the following persons, viz: James Wil- 
son, John Armstrong, John Montgomery, William Irvine, Robert Callen- 
dar, William Thompson, John Calhoon, Jonathon Hoge, Robert Magaw, 
Ephraim Blaine, John Allison, John Harris, and Robert Miller, or any 
five of them. 

8. That James Wilson, Robert Magaw, and William Irvine be the depu- 
ties appointed to meet the deputies from other counties of this province 
at Philadelphia on Friday next, in order to concert measures preparatory 
to the General Congress. John Montgomery, Chairman. 

The new nation, the United States of America, had come into 
being because the people could not help it, and as a protest against 
indignities, taxes and officers forced upon them by the mother 
country, rather than because of a great desire for it. In the reso- 
lutions adopted at this Cumberland County meeting, including what 


is now Perry, the colonies, it will be noted, are named "British 
America." Most Americans then held allegiance to their states 
more so than to a union of all, and many believed it possible to 
continue thus, independent of each other except pledged to work 
together on foreign affairs. For a period of eleven years — from 
1776 to 1787 — such a government, in fact, existed. George Wash- 
ington, soon to be the first President of the United States, in the 
meantime was conducting a movement for a united nation, by tak- 
ing the matter up with the various state governors and otherwise. 
But there was no unanimity. When the Constitutional Convention 
met in Philadelphia in 1787 two great men — Adams and Jefferson 
— were absent in Europe as envoys ; Patrick Henry, wedded to 
"state's rights," refused to attend, and John Hancock, Richard 
Henry Lee, and Samuel Adams, all fearing a too central govern- 
ment, remained away. Perry Countians will do well to remember 
that among the representatives was James Wilson, then only 
twenty-three years of age, of Cumberland (then their county), 
whom all historians agree was the most learned lawyer in the con- 
vention and who afterwards became a justice of the United States 
Supreme Court. In 1778 he removed to Philadelphia. He was 
elected to Congress in 1775 and 1782. He died in the South, in 
1798, and his remains rested there until within the last two dec- 
ades, when they were disinterred and removed to Philadelphia. 

James McLene was a member from the county to the Provincial 
Conference of June, 1776, and of the Constitutional Convention 
of the same year, as well as a member of the Supreme Executive 
Council from Cumberland County in 1778-79, serving in the last 
named body from Franklin County from 1784 to 1787. 

Continental Congress adopted resolutions on May 15. 1775, rec- 
ommending the adoption of a state government by each colony. 
This resulted in a provincial conference held at Philadelphia on 
Tuesday, June 18, which met at Carpenters' Hall, and chose Thomas 
McKean president. It was unanimously resolved that a convention 
should be called to form a new government. The qualification for 
voters or electors were made as follows : must have attained the 
age of twenty-one years, have lived in the province one year or 
more, must have paid either a provincial or county tax, and swear 
that he would no longer bear allegiance to King George. Repre- 
sentatives to the convention needed the same qualifications, and in 
addition an affidavit that he "would oppose any measures that 
would interfere with or obstruct the religious principles or prac- 
tices of any of the good people of the province," and still further, 
sign a declaration of faith in the Trinity and in the Divine inspira- 
tion of the Old and New Testaments. It was determined that each 
county should have eight representatives or members, the election 
of whom should be held on Monday, July 8, and that four thou- 


sand, five hundred militia be raised to join a flying camp to con- 
sist of ten thousand men in the middle colonies. 

The convention met on Monday, July 15, in Philadelphia, and 
Benjamin Franklin was chosen president. It continued, including 
adjournments, until September 28, when the Constitution of Penn- 
sylvania was adopted and signed. The lawmaking power of the 
state was vested in a House of Representatives, the members of 
which were to be chosen annually by ballot on the second Tuesday 
of October, to meet the fourth Monday of the same month, no 
member of which could serve over four years. This body was to 
choose annually the state treasurer and delegates to the United 
States Congress, of which no one could be a member for more 
than two years successively and not be eligible for membership 
again until three years had elapsed. Until a proper apportionment 
could be made each county was to have six members of this 

When the threatened storm approached, our people were equally 
firm in their determination to resist all oppression. They made 
preparations, adopted measures and organized for defense. From 
the American Archives, Vol. II, page 516, the following is repro- 
duced, being the contents of a letter from a gentleman writing 
May 6, 1775, from Carlisle, the county seat: 

"Yesterday the county committee met from nineteen townships, on the 
short notice they had. About three thousand men have already associated. 
The arms returned amount to about fifteen hundred. The committee have 
voted five hundred effective men, besides commissioned officers, to be im- 
mediately drafted, taken into pay, armed and disciplined, to march on the 
first emergency ; to be paid and supported as long as necessary, by a tax 
on all estates, real and personal, in the county ; the returns to be taken by 
the township committees ; and the tax laid by the commissioners and as- 
sessors ; the pay of the officers and men as usual in times past." 

"This morning we met again at eight o'clock; among other subjects of 
inquiry this day, the mode of drafting or taking into pay, arming and 
victualling immediately the men, and the choice of field and other officers, 
will among other matters be the subject of deliberation. The strength or 
spirit of this county, perhaps may appear small, if judged by the number 
of men proposed ; but when it is considered that we are ready to raise 
fifteen hundred or two thousand, should we have support from the prov- 
ince; and that independent, and in uncertain expectation of support, we 
have voluntarily drawn upon this county, a debt of about £27,000 per 
annum, I hope we shall not appear contemptible. We make great improve- 
ments in military discipline. It is yet uncertain who may go." 

On June 22, 1775, the "Colony of Pennsylvania," the name prov- 
ince having become obsolete, was authorized to raise eight com- 
panies of expert riflemen, instead of six companies, as authorized 
by the Continental Congress on the preceding June 14, to proceed 
to join the army near Boston. The result was that nine companies 
responded. Cumberland (always remembering that it still included 
Perry) sent one under command of Captain William Hendricks, 


its first offering upon the altar of liberty. It was one of two com- 
panies to be assigned to accompany General Benedict Arnold (he 
who later became a traitor) in his difficult and historical march 
through Maine to the stronghold of Quebec. Captain Hendricks 
is recorded as a brave and good officer, but doomed to be killed in 
the attack January 1, 1776. These men were all enlisted in Tune 

Cumberland County then embraced all of Perry, and this com- 
pany was composed also of men from the present counties of 
Juniata and Mifflin (also a part of Cumberland), and at this late 
date there is no way of distinguishing the sections to which each 
inhabited, hence the entire list is reprinted. 

Roster of Captain Hendricks' Company. 

Captain, William Hendricks. Killed at Quebec 

First Lieutenant, John McClellan. Died on march, November ■* 177, 

Second Lieutenant, *Francis Nichols vcinuer 3 , i 7/5 . 

Third Lieutenant, George Francis 

ter S o7T"7^'. D /H Th0m r? S Gib |? n ' °! L Carlisle < died at V *^' Forge, win- 
ter of i /7 8) ; ♦Henry Crone, *Joseph Greer, *William McCoy. 

at- j j a Privates: 

*Edward Agnew. 

George Albright. 

♦Thomas Anderson. 

♦Philip Boker, w. at Quebec. 

*John Blair. 

^Alexander Burns. 

♦Peter Burns. 

♦William Burns. 
John Campbell, k. at Quebec. 

♦Daniel Carlisle. 

♦John Corswill. 

*Roger Casey. 

*Joseph Caskey. 

♦John Chambers. 

♦Thomas Cooke, later a lieutenant 

*John Cove. 

John Craig, later a lieutenant 
*Matthew Cumming. 

Arthur Eckles. 
♦Peter Frainer. 
♦Francis Furlow. 
*William Gommel. 
*John Gardner. 
♦Daniel Graham. 
*James Greer. 
♦Thomas Greer. 
*John Hardy. 
: Elijah Herdy. 

*John Henderson, w. at Quebec 
*James Hogge. 
*James Inload. 
*Dennis Kelley, k. at Quebec. 
*Wm. Kirkpatrick. 
♦Robert Lynch. 
♦David Lamb. 
♦Thomas Lesley. 
Those marked with an asterisk (*) were captured 

John Lorain. 
*John McChesney 
♦Daniel McClellan. 
*Richard McClure. 
Henry McCormick. 
Henry McEwen. 
♦Archibald McFarlane, escaped. 
♦Barnabas McGuire. 
♦John McLinn. 
John McMurdy. 
♦Jacob Mason. 
♦Philip Maxwell. 
♦George Morrison. 
♦George Morrow. 
Edward Morton. 
♦Thomas Mordoch. 
♦Daniel North. 
♦Daniel O'Hara. 
♦William O'Hara. 
♦John Ray. 
♦James Reed. 
George Rinehart. 
♦Edward Rodden. 
♦William Shannon. 
♦William Smith 
♦William Snell. 
♦Robert Steel. 
Hugh Sweeney. 
Edward Sweeney. 
♦Abraham Swaggerty, Quebec 

Matthew Taylor. 
♦Henry Turpentine. 
♦Michael Young. 
♦Thomas Witherof. 
♦Joseph Wright. 


Colonel William Irvine was commissioned in [anuary, 1776, as 
commander of the Sixth Battalion, Pennsylvania Troops. One of 
the companies, under Capt. William Bratton, of what is now Mif- 
flin County, contained soldiers whose homes were within the con- 
fines of present Mifflin, Juniata, and Perry Counties. The roster 
of that company follows : 

William Bratton, Capt. Henry, Francis. 

Thomas McCoy, Lient. Higgins, James. 

Amos Chapman, Sergt. Lee, Fergus. 

Thomas Giles, Sergt. Lloyd, Peter. 

Timothy O'Neil, Sergt. Lowden, Richard. 

Edward Steen, Drummer. McCay, Gilbert. 

John Waun, Fifer. McCay, Neil. 

Privates: f r C r^ iald ' ? a ? ick 

McGhegan, John. 

Beatty, John. McKean, John. 

Carman, William. Martin, Peter. 

Carter, Patrick. Moore, Fergus. 

Daley, John. Prent, John. 

Donovan, Daniel. Redstone, William. 

Edgarton, Edward Rooney, Peter. 

Elliott, James. Ryan, John. 

German. Henry. Shockey, Patrick. 

Giles, Thomas. Simonton, James. 

Gilmore, Michael. Simonton, Thomas 

Hall, David. Taylor, John. 

On March 15, 1777, the battalion was reorganized at Carlisle, 
and became the Seventh Pennsylvania Regiment of the Continental 
Army. The men composing it were paid and mustered out, at 
Carlisle, during April, 1781. Captain Bratton was wounded at 
the Battle of Germantown, and a township in Mifflin County was 
named in his honor. 

In several other companies there were a few men from what is 
now Perry County territory, but how to distinguish them is a 
question. In the above roster, however, any one familiar with the 
names of Perry County families will easily distinguish many of 

After January I, 1776, this company became a part of the First 
Regiment of the Army of the United Colonies, commanded by 
General George Washington, later to become first President of 
the United States. 

Thacher's Military Journal described the men of this battalion 
as follows : 

"Several companies of riflemen have arrived here from Pennsylvania 
and Maryland, a distance of from five hundred to seven hundred miles. 
They are remarkably stout and hardy men, many of them exceeding six 
feet in height. They are dressed in rifle shirts and round hats. These 
men are remarkable for the accuracy of their aim, striking a mark with 
great certainty at two hundred yards' distance. At a review a company 
of them, while on a quick advance, fired their balls into objects of seven- 
inch diameter, at a distance of two hundred and fifty yards. They are 
now stationed on our lines and their shot have frequently proved fatal to 
British officers and soldiers." 


Colonel William Thompson, of Carlisle, was in command. The 
Continental Congress had determined to reenlist the regiment, but 
General Washington, unaware of their intentions, wrote: "They 
are indeed a very useful corps; but I need not mention this, as 
their importance is already well known to the Congress." On the 
following July 1 the entire regiment reenlisted and became the 
First Regiment of the Pennsylvania line in the Continental service. 

Almost every Perry County school boy and girl is familiar with 
the historical facts relating to Benedict Arnold's treason and the 
attending execution of Major Andre, the British officer who was 
apprehended while engaged in the nefarious project, yet how many 
of even the grown people know that he was once imprisoned at 


Here sat Gen. Frederick Watts, whose home was in what is now 

Wheatfield Township, Perry County, as a Member of the Supreme 

Executive Council, which governed the new State until the Union 

was formed. 

Carlisle and that a company of soldiers from what is now Perry 
County, under command of an officer from the same territory, 
threatened to take his life? The facts are these: 

During the Revolution Carlisle was made an important post for 
American troops, and, by reason of its being far from the line of 
actual hostilities, British prisoners were frequently confined there. 
Among such were two officers, Major Andre and Lieutenant 
Despard, who had been captured by Montgomery at Lake Cham- 
plain. While there in 1776 they occupied a stone house on the 
corner of South Hanover Street and Locust Alley, and were on 
parole of honor with a six-mile limit, but required to wear military 

In the same neighborhood lived Mrs. Ramsey, an unflinching 
W 7 hig and even a greater American, who detected two tories in 
conversation with them and made information to the authorities. 
The tories were pursued and arrested near South Mountain, 
brought back, tried at once and imprisoned. Letters written in 


French were found upon them, but no one was able to read them. 
Arnold and Despard had been in the habit of going hunting within 
the limits of their parole, but were now barred from leaving town. 
Accordingly they broke their fowling pieces, declaring that no 
d rebel should ever burn powder in them. During their con- 
finement there a man named Thompson, from what is now 
I Vrry County, enlisted a company of militia in that district and 
marched them to Carlisle. Whether eager to display his recruits 
or not we know not, but at night he drew his company up in front 
of this stone house and "swore lustily," records tell us, "that he 
would have their lives, as Americans who were prisoners in hands 
of the British were dying of starvation." 

Through the entreaties of this same Mrs. Ramsey, Captain 
Thompson, who had formerly been an apprentice to her husband, 
was induced to leave. He departed, with a menacing nod of his 
head, and the exclamation, "You may thank my old mistress for 
your lives." The next morning she received a very polite note 
from the British officers thanking her for saving them from the 
valiant Captain Thompson. They were later removed to York, 
and before leaving sent to' Mrs. Ramsey a box of spermacetti 
candles, a rare article in those days, with a note thanking her for 
her many kind favors. She returned them with a polite note to 
the effect that she was too staunch a Whig to accept a gratuity 
from a British officer. Despard was executed in London in 1803 
for high treason, and with Arnold's fate the reader is familiar. 

Committees of Observation were appointed throughout the colo- 
nics, the committees representing the home county being composed 
of James Wilson, John Montgomery, Robert Callendar, William 
Thompson, John Calhoun, Jonathan Hoge, Robert Magaw, Eph- 
raim Blaine, John Allison, John Harris, Robert Miller, John Arm- 
strong, and William Irvine. 

Throughout the colonies there appeared here and there sympa- 
thizers with the mother country, known in their day as "tories," 
and the prototype of their ilk known as "copperheads" during the 
war between the States and as "German-Americans" and "paci- 
fists" during the recent great World War. The English language 
does not contain words loathsome enough to describe men of that 
class, who gladly enjoy the pleasures, advantages and protection 
which their land affords, and yet are traitors of the foulest stripe. 
That such an one had settled north of the Kittatinny Mountain, 
in the territory which later became Perry County, is recorded with 
deep regret, but from the public records his infamy passes to pos- 
terity. The affidavit is self-explanatory: 
"Cumberland County, ss. : 

"Before me, C.eorge Robinson, one of His Majesty's Justices, for said 
county, personally appeared Clef ton Bowen, who, being duly exam- 


ined and sworn, doth depose and say : that some time in the month of 
January last, he, this deponent, was in the house of John Montgomery, in 
Tryone Township, in company with a certain Edward Erwin, of Rye 
Township, and this deponent says he then and there heard said Erwin 
drink damnation and confusion to the Continental Congress, and damn 
their proceedings, saying they were all a parcel of damned rebels, and 
against spring would be cut off like a parcel of snowbirds, and more such 

"Sworn and subscribed before George Robinson, 19th February, 1776. 

"Clefton Bowen." 

In addition to Erwin there were a number of others of the same 
ilk who left the territory soon after the British gained possession 
of Philadelphia and joined them there. The list includes, accord- 
ing to the Pennsylvania Archives, Alexander McDonald, Kennet 
McKenzie, and Edward Erwin, all of Rye Township, farmers on 
small farms, and William McPherson, William Smith, and Hugh 
Gwin, of Tyrone Township. The latter was a laborer and Mc- 
Pherson and Smith, blacksmiths. Their property was confiscated. 

A citizen by the name of Job Stretch, who had taken up lands 
in what is now Juniata Township, was an intense loyalist during 
the Revolution, but began finding things getting "too warm" for 
him and left for Canada, where he settled. 

Leads Cornwalljs' Army Into Captivity. 

To one from within the limits of what now comprises Perry 
County was accorded one of the greatest honors of the entire 
Revolution. When the army of the mighty Cornwallis, the British 
general, laid down their arms, at Yorktown, the entire army, save 
the officers, was placed in charge of the command of Colonel 
George Gibson (father of the late Chief Justice Gibson), under 
whose command they were marched to York, Pennsylvania, where 
they were prisoners of war. Imagine, if you can, the army of that 
great empire, prisoners, in the hands of a native of the soil which 
comprises our little county of Perry. 

*Almost seventy years after the ending of the Revolution, on 
March 2, 1856, the last funeral in Perry County of a soldier of the 
Revolution occurred. It was that of William Heim, of Jackson 
Township, father of Rev. John W. Heim, who was the last sur- 
vivor. He was aged about ninety-five years and could relate from 
memory many of the incidents which resulted in the declaration 
of war. The funeral of Andrew Losh, of Wheatfield Township, 

*William Heim was not recruited from this territory, however, but 
moved here from Northumberland County in 1815 and became a citizen. 
He was ninety-five years of age, and 150 horsemen escorted his funeral 
cortege, this being the only instance of this kind on record here. He is 
said to have asked the national government for a pension in his later years, 
but being unable to furnish other evidence than the existence of his name 
on the company roll, he never received it. The state rewarded his services 
with a small annuity. 


occurring after his death on April 12, i8a<), at the age of ninety- 
eight, was the next last of Revolutionary veterans. 

Another prominent name connected with the Revolution from 
the local territory was that of Capt. Alexander Stephens, who had 
located near the Baskins' Ferry (now northern Duncannon). He 
wed a daughter of James Baskins and became the grandfather 
of Alexander H. Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederacy, to 
whom a chapter in this book is devoted. The head of this par- 
ticular Stephens clan in America was an intelligent man, as evi- 
denced by various documents from his pen which we have been 
privileged to read. He entered the war as a private in the Fourth 
Company of the Fifth Battalion of the Cumberland County con- 
tingent. He was also in the French and Indian War, being present 
at Braddock's defeat as a member of Capt. Joseph Shippen's com- 
pany of Col. William Clapham's regiment. 

Some; of the; Patriots. 

George Albright, one of the first settlers of Buck's Valley, went to 
serve his country, his wife, a servant girl and several small boys doing the 
farming. Mrs. Albright and the servant girl carried bags of grain to the 
river on horseback. Leaving their horses there they placed the grain bags 
in canoes and went down the river to the nearest mill, then at Dauphin. 
While they waited until the grain was ground and they rowed the precious 
load of flour up the river, the distance being about fifteen miles. Albright 
returned home at the close of the war and was a respected citizen of the 
little valley the balance of his days. 

Benjamin Bonsall, Sr., of Greenwood Township, served at Valley Forge 
with Washington during the dark days when they had little to wear and 
little to eat. Aged eighty-nine years, he died in 1845. 

Thomas Brown, of Tyrone Township, patriot to the core, provided in his 
will for the reading of the Declaration of Independence over his open 
grave, after which the minister was to pray for him and his beloved 

Andrew Burd, a fourteen-year-old boy from Greenwood Township, en- 
tered the army as a fifer and served seven years, being mustered out in 
time to get his first vote. 

Edward Donelly, of Buckwheat Valley, was a member of the Colonial 

The Smiley family, of Carroll Township, -had five members in the Revo- 
lution, as follows: Thomas Smiley, an ensign in Colonel Watts' battalion; 
John, George, William, and Samuel Smiley. 

William Wallis, who was a resident of what is now Juniata Township, 
Perry County, served through the Revolution and received for pay a cer- 
tificate of service, which he exchanged for a set of blacksmith tools later on. 

David Focht, one of Perry County's first settlers, a resident of Jackson 
Township, was in the army. 

Note. — According to information given to Mrs. Lelia Dromgold Emig, 
author of the Hench-Dromgold genealogy, a number of Revolutionary sol- 
diers are interred in the following cemeteries : Loysville cemetery, John 
Hench, Michael Loy, John Hench II, and John Yohn ; Donnally's Mills, 
Edward Donally and George Hench ; cemetery on ridge near Elliottsburg, 
Frederick Shull ; George Hench, Duncannon. 


Benjamin Kssick, of Liverpool Township, served in the militia and lived 
to be ninety-three. 

Alexander Gaily, a resident of the Cove, Penn Township, served in the 
Revolution and lived until 1842, being then 102 years old. 

Andrew Lynch, of Tuscarora Township, was in the service of his coun- 
try during the Revolution. 

"William Patterson, of Petersburg, Rye Township (Duncannon), was in 
the service a year, and in later years used to tell of "the tories" mustering 
on Young's Hill. 

Frederick Watt, later general in the patriot army, whose biography ap- 
pears elsewhere in this book, was wounded in the mouth at the Wyoming 
massacre, where he served with Colonel Zebulon Butler, who fought Brit- 
ish, tory, and Indian forces of thrice his strength. 

Englehart Wormley, one of the first settlers, was in the battle of Long 
Island. He died in 1827. 

Greenwood Township also furnished John Buchanan, whose descendants 
long lived in the same vicinity; Robert Moody, William Rodgers, William 
Philips, and others. 

The state pensioned disabled Revolutionary soldiers, and among the 
documents in the Bureau of Public Records at Harrisburg, is a deposition, 
No. 317, relating to Robert Pendergrass, a sergeant, pensioned April 12, 
1821, at $48 per annum. The oath of Hugh Sweeny is executed before 
Jacob Fritz, a Perry County justice, which makes it practically certain 
that Sweeny was from Perry. Pendergrass was likely from Cumberland. 
Part of the deposition verifieth "that he (Sweeny) was well acquainted 
with Pendergrass, that he enlisted in Capt. John Hays' company, that they 
both marched from Carlisle on the sixth of April, 1776, on their way to 
Kenedy (Canada), that Pendergrass remained in the service four years, 
all of which time they were acquainted and part of the time messmates." 

Capt. Jonathon Robison, of Sherman's Valley, was a son of George 
Robinson, and suffered much in the Indian wars. Although above fifty 
years of age he entered the Colonial Army. With his company he was in 
the battle of Princeton, being stationed there for some time to guard 
against the British and to act as scouts and intercept foraging parties. 

Joseph Martin, a resident of what is now Howe Township, who became 
a captain in the Revolution, sold a house on the south bank of the Juniata, 
March 26, 1776, for fifty pounds, with which to purchase his horse and 
equipment for the army. After spending that bitter winter with Washing- 
ton's army at Valley Forge, he was taken with camp fever, and started for 
home, but never arrived. Whether he perished in the wilderness or was 
captured and tortured to death by the British, as tradition says, will never 
be known. 

*Silas Wright, in his History of Perry County, says: "The Tories 
mustered their troops during the Revolutionary War on Young's Hill," 
adjoining Duncannon. He probably based the statement upon that of one 
William Patterson. That fact, often quoted, seems legendary, as Dun- 
cannon (then known as Clark's Ferry) was not laid out in lots until 1792, 
and according to a reliable tradition, there were only eight houses from 
the cabins surrounding the old forge to Clark's Run as late as 1830. When 
the Revolution was taking place there evidently were very few houses 
there, and just where these Tories came from would be hard to determine. 
Furthermore, there are provincial records of all Tory movements and 
Tories and nothing like that appears in the annals of the province, while 
even the few British sympathizers within the territory are recorded as 
will be seen in the foregoing pages. 


In the Loysville cemetery also rests Abraham Smith, a Revolutionary 
soldier, but from what territory is not known. John Ramsey, who resided 
in the county, was another. Valentine Ritter was in the Revolution from 
Berks County, and after the war located near Loysville. 

Adam Smith, great-grandfather of the late John M. and Alvin Smith, 
of Newport, served in the Continental Army, but not from what is now 
Perry County. 

Peter Kipp served with the Sixth Company of Second New York Ar- 
tillery in the patriot army, his name appearing on the rolls until July 10, 
1783. At the close of the war he settled in Buck's Valley, Buffalo Town- 
ship, where he married Margaret Finton. He was a tailor and followed 
his trade, going from house to house, as was the custom. His brother 
Jacob, who enlisted in the same unit on the same day, was killed in the 
battle of the Brandywine. 

George Hench, who had settled in Perry County before the Revolution, 
was a fifer in the army. 

John Stewart, a Revolutionary soldier of Carlisle, settled in Perry 
County prior to 1800, and his descendants live in the county. 

In the Millerstown cemetery, besides Benjamin Bonsall, who died in 1845, 
aged 89 years, are buried two other Revolutionary patriots. Ephraim 
Williams, a cabinetmaker, died August 15, 1843, aged 86 years, and Robert 
Porter (grandfather of the late T. P. Cochran), who was 86 at his death 
and said to have been an officer. 

Francis DeLancey, located on a farm near Kistler, after serving in the 
Revolution under General Lafayette, with whom he came from France. 
He was first married to a French woman in New York, from whom are 
descended William and Oliver DeLancey, attorneys, whose father was 
Bishop DeLancey. Dr. C. E. DeLancey and brothers are his grandsons 
from the second marriage. He lived to be eighty-three. 

David Mitchell, who first resided upon the farm from which the lands 
for the county seat of Perry County were taken, was in the Provincial 
Army under Forbes and Bouquet, as a subaltern officer, and served in the 
Revolution as a major in Colonel Frederick Watts' battalion. He was 
appointed by Governor McKean, in May, 1800, as brigadier general of 
the militia of Perry and Franklin Counties. He represented his county 
(then Cumberland) continuously in the legislature for twenty years, from 
1786 to 1805, and was a presidential elector in 1813 and 1817. He was a 
son of John and Agnes Mitchell, and was born July 17, 1742, in what later 
became Cumberland County. He died May 25, 1818, on the Juniata, above 

That the territory which later became Perry County did well in 
the way of furnishing men who then resided there or had previ- 
ously been residents, as officers, is not a matter of question. By 
referring to the chapter in this book devoted to the Blaine family 
it will be noted that Ephraim Blaine,* once a resident of the vicin- 
ity of Blain, Perry County, was Commissary General of the Colo- 
nial Army and the associate of General George Washington. There 
appears the story of his wonderful saving of the Revolutionary 
army, which places him second only to Washington himself. Near 
the close of 1776 or the beginning of 1777, when battalions began 

*In the Manuscript Division of the Congressional Library, Washington, 
there is a valuable collection of Letters of Col. Ephraim Blaine. (See 
page 629.) 


to be designated by numerals, we find Col. Epbraim Blaine in 
charge of the First Battalion. His service must have been brief 
there as he is soon found to be filling the responsible post of Com- 
missary General. The Second Battalion was commanded by Col. 
|ohn Allison, described as "a justice of the peace of Tyrone Town- 
ship, over the mountain, and a judge of the county, but after his 
retirement, for he was. now past middle life." In 1778 we find 
the Fourth Battalion commanded by Colonel Jonathon Robison, 
"of Sherman's Valley." The battalion composed entirely of men 
"from north of the mountain," was commanded by Col. Frederick 
Watts, and another by Major David Mitchell. 

While the Revolution was waged by the British government, yet 
it was largely a personal war of the German-speaking George III, 
who could not get enough of his own people interested to fight 
their own kinsmen, but had to fall back on hirelings — the Hessians 
— who fought for pay. Strangely enough, the histories in our 
public schools are not specific upon that fact, which is largely re- 
sponsible for the feeling against Great Britain in America, al- 
though we dwell alongside of one of their great dependencies and 
not a single fort worthy of the name guards the four thousand- 
mile border on either side — unlike that of the old German mon- 
archy, along whose borders frowned huge fortresses on every 
hand. The writer, however, holds no brief for the British Em- 
pire, neither has he any patience with those who would give that 
nation equal rights in the Panama Canal. 

The Continental Congress, July 18, 1875, recommended that 
"all able-bodied, effective men between sixteen and fifty years of 
age should immediately form themselves into companies of militia, 
to consist of one captain, two lieutenants, one ensign, four ser- 
geants, four corporals, one clerk, one drummer, one fifer, and 
about sixty-eight privates ; the companies to be formed into regi- 
ments or battalions, officered with a colonel, lieutenant colonel, two 
majors, and an adjutant or quartermaster; all officers above the 
rank of captain to be appointed by the provincial authorities." 

Colonel Frederick Watts' Battalion. 

Although occupation of the county territory was in its primary 
stage practically the whole of the Seventh Battalion of Cumber- 
land County Militia, with Colonel Frederick Watts in command, 
was recruited here, and the battalion became a unit July 31, I777> 
in the patriot army, although many of the men had been in the 
service at an earlier date. There is record of some of them as 
early as the beginning of 1776, and Colonel Watts was present at 
.the surrender of Fort Washington, November 16, 1776. Early in 
1776 there is record of the forwarding of an order for funds to 
cover the expense of forwarding his men to camp. 



The Staff. — Colonel. Frederick Watts; Lieutenant Colonel, Samuel Ross; 
Major, David Mitchell; Adjutant, Thomas Bolan ; Quartermaster, Albert 

First Company. — Captain, James Fisher; First Lieutenant, Thomas 
Fisher ; Second Lieutenant, Robert Scott ; Ensign, Joseph Sharpe. 

John Montgomery. 

James Baxter. 

Francis McGarvey. 

William Robertson. 

Ross Mitchell. 

James Shields. 

Samuel Hutchinson. 

James Gaudy. 

Benjamin Chambers. 

James Edmondstone. 

James Roddy. 

James Menoch. 

Edward Nicholson. 

Thomas Mclntire. 

William Ferguson. 

John Black. 

Mathias Sweezy. 
The rank and file of this company is named as fifty-eight, yet the 
above-named is a copy of the roll of July, 1777, as printed in the State 

Patrick Cree. 
Hugh Evans. 
Alexander Akins. 
George Brown. 
Robert Boggs. 
Thomas Williams. 
John Campbell. 
James Rhea. 
Robert Purdy. 
Isaac Somers. 
Robert Walker. 
Robert Chew. 
Robert Heatly. 
James Ardery. 
John Piper. 
George Biddle. 

Second Company. — Captain, James 
Marshall ; Second Lieutenant, Samuel 

David Carson. 

Andrew Shaw. 

James Smith. 

William Elliott. 

William McConnell. 

John Crawford. 

Samuel Byars. 

Archibald Kinkead. 

Andrew Everhart. 

Robert Creigh. 

James Horn. 

John McNaughton. 

Alexander Fullerton. 

Daniel Mulhollin. 

James Barker. 
The number of this company is na 
names are all that appear in the State 

Power ; First Lieutenant, David 
Shaw; Ensign, John Kirkpatrick. 

John Hunter. 

Thomas McKee. 

William McCoy. 

John McCoy. 

George McLeve. 

David Baird. 

David McClintock. 

Samuel Glass. 

James White. 

Robert Johnstone. 

John Phillips. 

Benjamin Hillhouse. 

Patrick Killian. 

Richard Taylor. 

William Smiley, 
med as sixty-seven, yet the above 
Archives, as of September, 1777. 

Third Company. — Captain, Wil 
Black; Second Lieutenant, John 
William Murray. 
George Dixson. 
George Wallace. 
Michael Kirkpatrick. 
Thomas McTee. 
Robert McKebe. 
William Miller. 
William Chain. 
John Sanderson. 
John McLean. 
John McCown. 
David Miller. 
Thomas Noble. 

liam Sanderson ; First Lieutenant. George 
Simonton ; Ensign, Archibald Loudon. 

David McClure. 

George Brown. 

Thomas Adams. 

David Hartnis. 

Samuel Galbreath. 

William Cams. 

James Gaily. 

John Sedgwick. 

Robert McCabe. 

William Gardner, Jr. 

John Neeper. 

Alexander McCaskey. 

Thomas Hamilton. 


Thomas Smiley. John Ewing. 

John Devlin. James Maxwell.- 

Hance Ferguson. 
The total enrollment of this company is named as forty-six, but the 
above are the only names on the State Archives list of October, 1777. 

Fourth Company. — Captain, William Blain ; First Lieutenant, James 
Blain; Second Lieutenant, William Murray; Ensign, Allen Nesbit. 

Tames Cameron. Hugh Gormly. 

Michael Marshal. John Marshall. 

John McCallaster. William McClintock. 

John Ardery. James McClure: 

John Baker. John Smith. 

Joseph Childers. William Brown. 

Charles McCarty. Robert Galbreath. 

William Galbreath. Abram Johnston. 

Robert Boyd. John McBride. 

Robert McClurg. David Martin. 

James Findley. William Cunningham. 

John Douglass. John Taylor. 

The above is the list as recorded in the Pennsylvania Archives for Oc- 
tober, 1777, although the number is quoted in some records as fifty-one. 

Fifth Company.— Captain, Frederick Taylor; First Lieutenant, Daniel 
Hart; Second Lieutenant, Matthew McCoy; Ensign, Thomas Watson. 

Hans Kilgees. William Spottwood. 

Edward O'Donald. Thomas Shedswick. 

Pattrick Grant. Andrew Linch. 

Robert McClintog. V Robert Irwin. 

James Wymer. Hugh McCraghan. 

Matthew Merrot. James Miller. 

Richard Morrow. Thomas Purdy, Jr. 

William Watson. William Taylor. 

Hugh Miller. James Maxwell. 

Clifton Bowen. William Martin. 

Richard Stewart. Andrew Irwin. 

Robert Huev. John Faddon. 

William Williams. Samuel Glass. 

Daniel Graham. Robert Adams. 

Hugh Gibson. William Neeper. 

Joseph Nelson. William Adams. 

Andrew Kinkead. John Gardener. 

Evidently the clerk of this company erred in spelling proper names; 
O'Donald is likely O'Donnel ; McClintog, McClintock ; Wymer. Weimer ; 
Shedswick, Sedgwick ; Linch, Lynch ; McCraghan, McCracken ; Faddon, 
McFadden, and Gardener, Gardner. 

Sixth Company. — Captain, Edward Graham: First Lieutenant, Samuel 
Adair; Second Lieutenant, Samuel Whittaker ; Ensign, George Smiley. 

William Cree. John Jamison. 

William Lewis. Henry Heatly. 

Francis McQuoan. Alexander Brown. 

John Coulter. John Kellem. 

Thomas Boyd. James Nelson. 

Matthew White. Thomas Shaw. 

Hugh Law. Samuel Rayney. 

William McKee. Joseph Gormely. 

James Kerr. John Marshall. 

Thomas Barnet. Michael Marshal. 

Robert Dawson. William Carson. 

Samuel Ewing. William Blaine. 


Hugh McClintock. 
John Rea, Jr. 
John Elliott. 
John Smylie. 
Alexander Gaely. 
Moses Hays. 

Edward West. 
Henry Glass. 
Alexander McCoy. 
James Thompson. 
John Nelson. 
John Nelson, Jr. 

In January, 1778, according to the Pennsylvania Archives, the enroll- 
ment was as above, yet it is quoted at some places as seventy-eight. 

Seventh Company. — Captain, John Buchanan; First Lieutenant, William 
Nelson; Second Lieutenant, James Ewing ; Ensign, Benjamin Junkin. 

Samuel McClelland. 
Daniel Stuard. 
Tames Hodkins. 
John Riddle. 
Matthew Kerr. 
John Miller. 
James Hamilton. 
Samuel Neesbit. 
John Cowburn. 
William Shehan. 
Joseph Kirkpatrick. 
John Smith. 
David McKee. 
Henry Kelly. 
Alexander Kelly. 
John Ross. 
George Logan. 
John Cord. 

Samuel Fisher. 
Robert Graham. 
John Camble. 
Daniel Marrit. 
Thomas Elliott. 
Patrick Kain. 
Alexander Murray, Esq. 
William Erwin. 
Henry Savage. 
Moses Kirkpatrick. __ 
Peter Patterson. 
William McKee. 
Archibald Marrin. 
Robert Cumins. 
Thomas Willson. 
John Kinkead. 
Adrew Kinkead. 
Robert Neelson. 

James Byard. 

The State Archives contained the above list only, yet the roster is quoted 
at some places as containing fifty-five names. 

Eighth ( 'ompany. — Captai 
Neeper ; Second Lieutenant 
James Officer. 
George Morrah. 
Robert Wiley. 
Samuel Barnhill. 
James Carson. 
John McKebe. 
William Kerr. 
Henry Skivington. 
Robert Murray. 
John McCurry. 
Joseph Kilpatrick. 
William Murphy. 
Matthew McBride. 
Michael Walters. 
John Wright. 
William McKebe. 
William Logan. 
Thomas Townsley. 

n, Thomas Clark ; First Lieutenant, Joseph 
William Hunter; Ensign, James Fergus. 
George Douglas. 
John Cree. 
Robert Holliday. 
John Mitchell. 
Joseph Patten. 
Joseph Shields. 
Matthew Morrison. 
Michael Baskings. 
Alexander Maxwell. 
George Miller. 
Richard Stuard. 
John White. 
Andrew McKee. 
James McKebe. 
Thomas Mclntire. 
Joseph Sharp. 
John McClintoch. 


JUST what part the lands which now comprise Perry County 
played in the War of 1812, or more properly, the Second War 
with Great Britain, is of interest. Not only did it furnish 
many men, but across it ran the nearest route to Niagara, whence 
sped United States government couriers from the National Capi- 
tal to the frontier. Coming from Washington, the route lay 
through Sterrett's Gap, via the site of New Bloomfield and over 
Middle Ridge, to Rider's Ferry, thence across the Juniata. There 
was then no valley road from Bloomfield to Newport as at present, 
for there was no Bloomfield and no Newport at that time. One 
of the relay places, where horses were exchanged, was at Sterrett's 
Gap. Whether there was another before Middle Ridge it is not 
possible to say. On the top of Middle Ridge (now in Juniata 
Township), three-fourths of a mile south of Milford, on the 
Carlisle-Sunbury road, stood the White Ball Tavern, then kept by 
Philip Clouser. There horses were again exchanged. Just at the 
foot of Middle Ridge, on the same road, located on the north bank 
of the Little Buffalo Creek, John Koch (Kough) kept the Blue 
Ball Tavern, and as the courier would pass his place a horn sig- 
naled the White Ball Tavern (Clouser's) at the top of the ridge, 
so that on the arrival of the courier there the steed would be in 
waiting, and scarcely a minute consumed in resuming the journey. 
There were no telegraph or telephone lines in those days, and that 
was the only available method of sending dispatches. It is re- 
markable how quickly the journey was made by the frequent 
change of horses and the occasional relief of messengers. 

This war was occasioned largely by the British policy of search- 
ing American vessels and impressing seamen, on the subterfuge 
that they were British subjects. Anticipating the war, President 
Madison had called the American Congress a month earlier, in 
181 1, and it authorized a call for 100,000 volunteers, the quota of 
Pennsylvania being 14,000. Governor Simon Snyder issued a call 
for that number of troops on May 12, 1812. Three times the num- 
ber responded. The Perry County companies which responded 
were not assigned until 1814. The United States declared war 
June 18, 1812. Early that year Governor Simon Snyder called 
for a force of one thousand militia to help repel the British inva- 
sion of the northern frontier. Cumberland County (to which 
Perry then belonged) raised over half that number, a large part of 



whom came from the lands which now constitute Perry, and all of 
whom were volunteers. The others came from Franklin, York, 
and Adams, being drafted men, principally. These soldiers con- 
stituted the Eleventh Regiment, or Division, under the command 
of General Porter. They were in immediate command of Colonel 
James Fenton, Lieut. Colonel Robert Bull, and Majors Galloway 
and Marlin. Lieutenant Colonel Bull was from what is now Tus- 
carora Township, Perry County, his father having been Henry 
Bull, who built the first grist mill in Raccoon Valley, now known 
as the Donnally Mill, being owned by L. E. Donnally, a former 
member of the General Assembly. They were mustered in at Car- 
lisle, marched to Pittsburgh, and from there to Black Rock Fort — 
now the site of the city of Buffalo, New York — which they 
reached about April I. 

This expedition consisted of two brigades. They embarked 
July 2. The first landed about a mile below Fort Erie and the sec- 
ond about a mile above. A battery of "long- sixteens" was soon 
placed in position and under a flag of truce the fort was given two 
hours to capitulate. When the time expired 137 men, including 
the officers, marched out and surrendered. At three o'clock, on the 
5th, delay having been occasioned by getting supplies of food, the 
army of 3,500 men marched against the enemy'^ army. Indians 
had annoyed the pickets by firing upon them from concealed 
points. Volunteers were called for and three hundred from the 
Eleventh Regiment responded, among them officers who exchanged 
their swords for guns. This was the beginning of the Battle of 
Chippewa, in which Colonel Bull, the brave. Perry Countian, fig- 
ured. Every man who went with General Porter was ordered to 
leave his hat behind and go with head uncovered. The Indians 
tied up their heads in muslin and blackened their faces with 
burned wood. In less than an hour General Bull, Major Galloway 
and Captain White, with a number of private soldiers, were sur- 
rounded by the redskins, who had concealed themselves in high 
grass and permitted the main body to pass, so that they might 
secure the officers. They were made to disrobe and their clothing 
divided. Major Galloway and Private Wendt were stripped of 
their boots and compelled to march through thorn and stubble 
"until their feet were pierced through and through," as Wendt 
afterwards said. Silas Wright, in his History of Perry County 
(1873), further describes the event: 

"The party had advanced their prisoners but a. short distance 
until they were halted, and there was evidently an Indian dissat- 
isfied about something. They started again and had scarcely gone 
more than half a mile when the dissatisfied Indian, then in the 
rear, whooped loudly, raised his rifle and shot Colonel Bull through 
the body. The ball entered the left shoulder and come out through 



the right breast. After he was pierced by the bullet, Colonel Bull 
raised himself on his elbow, readied out his band to Major Gallo- 
way, and said, "Help me, Wendt, I am shot." The help implored 
by the dying man was prevented by the Indian who bad shot him, 
coming up, sinking his tomahawk into bis head and scalping him. 
This act, so contrary to all laws of human warfare, was no doubt 
in compliance with the order of General Riall, which was in sub- 
stance, not to spare any who wore the uniform of militia officers, 
while those who wore the regular officers' uniform were to be 
brought into camp in safety. To this fact we ascribe the fate of a 
brave soldier and a good officer." Colonel Bull was a religious 
man and during his service was often among the sick, encouraging 
and helping them. His age at the time was thirty-five years. 

Those from within the confines of what is now Perry County 
who served there, are as follows : 

Captain James Piper's Company. 


Frederick Burd, Greenwood. 
John Staily, Liverpool. 
Jacob Potter, Buffalo. — 
Jacob Liddick, Buffalo. 
Peter Werner, Buffalo. 
Andrew Hench, Buffalo. 
Joseph Fry was killed by the Indians at Chippewa, July 5th. 

Captain David Moreeand's Company. 

Michael Donally, Tuscarora. 
Jacob Hammaker, Watts. 
Daniel Fry, Greenwood. 
Abraham Fry, Greenwood. 
Joseph Fry, Greenwood. 
George Wendt, Liverpool T. 

David Moreland, Capt., Jackson. 

Robert Thompson. 

John Neiper. 

Amos Cadwallader. 

John Kibler, Landisburg. 

John Steigleman. 

Richard Rodger. 

George Strock. 

James Adams. 

John Abercrombie. 

Sebastian Waggoner. 

James Rodgers. 

David Beems. 

John Myers. 


Barkley, William, Saville. 
Bower, Jacob, Saville. 

Comp, , Centre. 

Dissinger, George, Tyrone. 

Dissinger, , Tyrone. 

Evinger, Peter, Jackson. 
Gutshall, George, Jackson. 
Gutshall, Jacob, Toboyne. 
.Garland, John, Madison. 
Goodlander, John, Madison. 
Hockenberry, Jos., Toboyne. 
Jacobs, John, Saville. 
Johnston, William, Toboyne. 

Kiner, Jacob, Tyrone. 
Kessler, Peter, Toboyne. 
Kessler, David, Toboyne. 
Kessler, Adam, Toboyne. 
Mealy, Dr. Samuel, Millerstown. 
Otto, Peter, Toboyne. 
Ruggles, Moses, Madison. 
Robinson, George, Saville. 
Ross, Samuel, Tyrone. 
Strock, George, Saville. 
Strock, Joseph, Saville. 
Stump, William, Toboyne. 
Schreffler, John, Toboyne. 
Schreffler, George, Toboyne. 
Stambaugh, Philip, Tyrone. 
Sheafer, Jacob, Tyrone. 
Sheafer, Wm, Tyrone. 
Swanger, Peter, Tyrone. 

Stroup, •, Madison. 

Scott, , Liverpool. 

Sponenberger, , Liverpool. 

Stewart, Richard, Tyrone. 
Topley, John, Landisburg. 
Weaver, Michael, Toboyne. 
Wolfe, Adam, Tyrone. 
Wolfe, George, Tyrone. 
\\ ilson, Joseph, Tyrone. 
Welch, Robert, Tyrone. 


The following additional names are found on a muster roll, 
made out September 22, 1814: 

Askins, William. 

Bergstresser, George. 

Bower, Jacob. 

Bergstresser, Solomon. 

Bice, Samuel. 

Bower, Peter. 

Buck, George. 

Dougherty, Robert. 

Deckard, Philip. 

Dunbar, Robert. 

Dansville, Thomas. 

Ewens, Moses. 

Fry, Daniel. 

Fry, Joseph (killed July 5th). 

Fry. Abraham. 

Gillam, Jacob. 

Gurnard, Isaac. 

Gallagher, John. 

Hollenbaugh, Henry. 

Hoobler, John. 

Hollenbaugh, Mathias. 

Hays, Robert. 

Hammaker, Joseph. 

Hamilton, John. 

Hockenberry, Joseph. 

Irwin, George. 

Jordan, David. 

Kennedy, Archibald. 

Kelsey, George. 

Kenny, Jacob. 

Ledech, Jacob (Liddick). 

Mores, John. 

Buck, Robert. 

Burd, Frederick. 

Byers, Joshua. 

Baughman, John. 

Comp, Daniel. 

Kiner, Jacob. 

Clark, Thomas. 

McMurray, Ezekiel. 

McCoy, Thomas. 

Morton, James. 

Miller, William. 

Neeper, James. 

Potter, Jacob. 

Presser, Henry. 

Gray, George. 

Rogers, Robert. 

Ross, Henry. 

Shaw, George. 

Sleighter, John. 

Shumbaugh, George. 

Sheets, Samuel. 

Stambaugh. Jacob. 

Tate, William. 

Taylor, Joseph. 

Wilson, Joseph. 

Wendt, George (taken prisoner 

July 5th). 
Wilson, Samuel. 
Wallace, William. 
Young, Abraham. 
Rouse, Godfrey. 
Shreffler, John. 

That these men were in action and at the front is proven by the 
notations as to Joseph Fry being killed and George Wendt cap- 
tured. The company was also in the field at the date of the roster. 

When Washington had been burned by the British and the news 
reached Landisburg, Dr. John D. Creigh enrolled an entire com- 
pany in the short space of two days. It was known as the Landis- 
burg Infantry and completed its organization on September 6, 
1814. It was at once accepted by Governor Snyder and assigned 
to the second post of honor in the Pennsylvania line. Upon Octo- 
ber 2 it was encamped on Bush 1 [ill, near Washington. The roster : 

Captain John Creigii's Company. 

John Creigh, Capt., Tyrone. 
Henry Lightner, Landisburg. 

Thompson, , Jackson. 

Carl, Isaiah, Tyrone. 

Neeper, , Tyrone. 

Lackey, Henry. 
Cadwallader, Amos, Tyrone. 


Bollinger, Daniel, Millerstown. 
Curry, John. 

Carl, David, Tyrone. 
Dunbar, George. 
Dunbar, John. 

Dunkelberger, Benj., Tyrone. 
Ernest, Jacob, Landisburg. 
Foose, Michael, 
Frederick, Jacob. 
Fullerton, Joseph. 
Gibson, Francis, Landisburg. 
Henderson, Wm., Tyrone. 
Hippie, John. 


Holman, Conrad. Power, John, Tyrone. 

Ickes, Samuel. Roddy, Alex., Tyrone. 

Jones, Nathan, Landishurg. Stambaugh, Daniel, Tyrone. 

Jones, Samuel, Landishurg. Smith, Philip, Tyrone. 

Johnson, John, Saville. Sheibley, Barnett, Tyrone. 

Jennings, Israel, Millerstown. Sheibley, Solomon. 

Keck, Stephen. Sheer, . 

Lightner, Jacob, Landishurg. Swarner, George. 

Landis, John, Landishurg. Simons, George, S., Tyrone. 

Landis, Samuel, Landishurg. West, George, Tyrone. 

Lynch, . Wilson, William, Tyrone. 

Mahoney, John, Landishurg. Whitmer, Barney, Tyrone. 

M'Cracken, Benj., Tyrone. Zeigler, . 

Marsh, Joseph, Tyrone. 
John Gabel, of Howe Township, also served in this war, but with what 
unit is unknown. 

Michael Donnally, of what is now Tuscarora Township, was one 
of the men who volunteered to go aboard Commodore Perry's 
fleet, then operating on Lake Erie, expecting to stay a few days at 
the utmost, but just four weeks elapsed before he got back to his 

Perry Countians and residents of the Juniata Valley have reason 
to be proud of their record in this war. Although the British never 
set foot on Pennsylvania soil, the state at one time had more men 
in the field than any other, as well as having paid a larger share of 
the expense. On the pretext that they were not obliged to leave 
their own state, General Van Rensselaer, of New York, refused to 
cross the line into Canada. General Tannehill, with a brigade of 
two thousand Pennsylvanians, including local men, welcomed the 
chance and promptly crossed into the enemy's country. 


A HISTORY of Perry County would be incomplete without 
reference to the founder of the province, the province itself, 
and to Cumberland County — Mother Cumberland — during 
the sixty-six years when Perry County soil was an integral part of 
its domain, before attaining countyhood in its own right. William 
Penn, the proprietor, has left his impress upon the land and its 
people, never to be effaced. He was born in London, England, 
October 16, 1644, being a son of Sir William Penn, an admiral in 
the English Navy, and Margaret Jasper Penn, daughter of a Rot- 
terdam merchant. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, 
where, on hearing Thomas Loe, an eminent Quaker, he thought 
well of his principles, and a few years later publicly professed 
them. In consequence of this action he was twice turned out by 
his father. In 1668 he began preaching and writing on the prin- 
ciples of the Quakers. For this he was twice imprisoned and once 
brought to trial. 

In 1680 Penn petitioned Charles II for a grant of land in Amer- 
ica, the Crown being in the debt of his father to the extent of some 
sixteen thousand pounds. On March 4, 1681, the great seal was 
affixed to the document which gave to him a grant in America — 
practically the Pennsylvania of to-day, which the king named in 
honor of his father. It gave to Penn almost unlimited powers, 
the exceptions being the levying of taxes and the vetoing of legis- 
lation. Here he founded a province where men might worship 
God according to the dictates of their individual conscience. Until 
1776 Penn and his heirs were the feudal lords of the land, with an 
exception of two years under William III. Penn died in England 
in 1718. The provincial history is largely that of the pioneers and 
the Indians, the part of which relates to Perry County territory 
appearing in the early chapters in this book devoted to the Indians. 
Prior to the establishment of the Constitution of 1790 Pennsyl- 
vania had various methods of government. The Dutch began to 
rule in [609 and continued until 1638; the Dutch and Swedish 
rule covered the period from 1638 to 1655, when the Dutch author- 
ity again became absolute and lasted until 1664. The chief execu- 
tive was then known as Vice Director. The conflict between the 
English and the Dutch led to the establishment of English rule 
from 1664 to 1673, when the Dutch Deputy Governor reestab- 
lished the rule of his race. The English, in turn, regained their 



lost authority in 1674 and continued it until 1681, when the pro- 
prietary government under Penn was established, with various 
deputy governors (including members of the Penn family) until 
1777, when the Supreme Executive Council was organized. 

Execution of the laws then devolved upon the president and the 
supreme executive council, consisting of twelve persons, one from 


the city of Philadelphia and one from each of the eleven counties 
into which the province was then divided. They were, however, 
chosen by district, the model of our senatorial districts in embryo. 
Every member of the council was a justice of the peace for the 
whole state. The president and vice-president of the state were 
elected in a joint meeting of the Assembly and the Council. The 
president had the judge appointing power, sat in impeachment 
cases and could grant pardons. The term of the supreme court 
judges was made seven years. Two or more persons were elected 
in each township as justices of the peace and the Council commis- 


sioned one or more of them for seven years. They held the courts. 
Two persons were to be voted for for sheriff and the Council was 
to commission one. The county commissioners and assessors of 
taxes were to be elected by the people, thus embodying in the State 
Constitution the principles which brought on the revolution, the 
right of the people to tax themselves. 

This early province is now the great Commonwealth of Penn- 
sylvania, with its sixty-seven subdivisions known as counties. It is 
one hundred and seventy-six miles in width from the New York 
State line to Maryland, and three hundred and three miles in 
length from Ohio to New Jersey. It contains 45.215 square miles 
of territory and is almost as large as England and Wales com- 
bined ; it is one-third larger than Ireland and larger than Holland, 
Denmark, and Belgium combined. It is the only one of the thir- 
teen original states having no coast line along the Atlantic Ocean. 
( >f the thirteen it has exerted greater influence upon the nation 
than any other, and its history has been more interesting. The 
Maryland and Virginia claims to a part of the Pennsylvania domain 
in the south and west and the claims of Connecticut in the Wyom- 
ing Valley, and the various Indian troubles and wars, were some 
of the early difficulties of the province. The pioneers and later 
settlers, unlike many of the other colonies and provinces, were not 
a single people but those of many nationalities. Here were to be 
found the types and sects of more religious beliefs than anywhere 
else, and that is largely .true to this day. Here were the beginnings 
of popular government by the people. Here transportation first 
developed and manufacturing started. On Pennsylvania soil were 
fought battles which helped in making the Union and the greatest 
battle in helping preserve the Union. Within its borders liberty 
was proclaimed and that great compact between' the states — the 
Constitution, was adopted. No other state in the Union has been 
so typical of world progress. It is second in population, while in 
land area it stands thirty-second. 

Pennsylvania originally had but three counties. When William 
I'enn first visited the province in 1682 — his visit covering almost 
two years — he laid out three counties, Philadelphia, Bucks, and 
Chester, whose boundaries were not clearly defined, but Chester 
had charge of the legality of everything as far west as settlements 
were then made. While there were no settlements at that time in 
what is now Perry County, had such been the case it would have 
been necessary to journey to West Chester to have legal action. 
These original counties had seals, adopted by the provincial legis- 
lature. That of Philadelphia was an anchor, of Bucks a tree, and 
of Chester a plough. 

The settlements of the colonists were pushing farther and far- 
ther into the wilderness, as immigrants came in from across the 


seas, and the necessity of having official and legal advantages closer 
at hand in order to avoid far journeys to the courts caused the 
citizens to petition for the erection of a new county out of the 
"upper part of Chester." The petition was granted and by an act 
of the Provincial Assembly, May 10, 1729, Lancaster County be- 
came the fourth county of the present great commonwealth, then 
in embryo. It extended westward as far as the province. From 
that date any legal matters from what is now the territory compris- 
ing Perry County would necessarily have been adjusted at Lan- 
caster, the county seat of Lancaster County. But the territory 
was uninhabited. 

The continual westward trend, which has practically continued 
to this day, with the attending desire for local courts, caused the 
residents west of the Susquehanna to petition for the formation 
of separate counties, and in 1749 York County, including the pres- 
ent county of Adams — it being the fifth county and formerly a 
part of Lancaster — was laid out. Cumberland, a year later — 1750 
— was the sixth county created. Thus the nearest county seat to 
the territory comprising Perry County, was that of Chester, then 
that of Lancaster, and later that of Cumberland. It became a part 
of Cumberland in 1754, where it was destined to remain for sixty- 
six years, or until 1820, when it "came into its own." 

In presenting a petition to the Provincial Assembly representa- 
tions were made by the inhabitants of the "North Valley," as the 
territory was then known, who resided west of the Susquehanna 
River, that "owing to the great hardships they laid under, of being- 
very remote from Lancaster, where the courts were held — some 
of them one hundred miles distant — and the public offices kept," 
etc., a new county was to be desired. The act of January 27, 
1750, creating Cumberland County, gave the boundaries as follows : 

"That, all and singular lands lying within the Province of Pennsylvania, 
to the westward of Susquehanna, and northward and westward of the 
county of York, be erected into a county, to be called Cumberland ; 
bounded northward and westward with the line of the province, eastward 
partly with the river Susquehanna, and partly with said county of York ; 
and southward in part by the line dividing said province from that of 

Literally that would have included all of Perry and of Pennsyl- 
vania to its northern border, but the lands north of the Kittatinny 
or Blue Mountain had not then yet been purchased from the In- 
dians. Consequently no townships were designated in the old rec- 
ords as lying north of the mountains, until after the Albany pur- 
chase of 1754. Neither were any justices appointed in or for 
that territory. Notwithstanding that fact the author of the bill 
creating Cumberland County used poor judgment, in including 
within its borders, lands which were not yet purchased from the 


Indians, and there is little wonder that squatters went into the ter- 
ritory and located claims. Mention of a number of these squat- 
ters occur throughout this book, and among the nanus are the 
forefathers of man)- present day inhabitants. Information was 
not disseminated nearly so easily in provincial days and it is un- 
fair to charge these squatters with disobeying the laws, when they 
probably inferred from the language creating Cumberland County 
that it meant just what it said, which was not the case. 

This wonderful domain, when taken literally, included all of 
Pennsylvania lying west of the Susquehanna River, except York 
County. From it all the counties west of the Susquehanna have 
been carved, either directly or indirectly, Perry being the last to 
attain separation. 

Cumberland County was named after a maratime county of 
England, on the borders of Scotland. When the Scotch-Irish be- 
gan settling the Cumberland Valley at first the Six Nations still 
inhabited it. This was about 1730 or 1731. When Cumberland 
County was organized it had but 807 taxable citizens. 

The first Cumberland County courts, after the county's estab- 
lishment in 1750, were held at Shippensburg, but were transferred 
to Carlisle in 175 1, when the town was laid out. In those days the 
session of Orphans' Court were sometimes held in the various dis- 
tricts, and there is at least one reference to it being held on the 
north side of the Kittatinny or Blue Mountain while the lands yet 
belonged to Cumberland. The records state that it was held "at 
William Anderson's," which location was at what is now Ander- 

Carlisle, the new county seat, early became an educational centre, 
which it is to this day. Dickinson College opened in 1783, and in 
[833 came under the influence of the Methodist Church. 

While Perry was yet a part of Cumberland "the Father of 
His Country," President George Washington, visited Carlisle. 
Incidentally, that title — the Father of His Country — was first ap- 
plied to him in Baer's Almanac, published at Lancaster, Pennsyl- 
vania. It was quickly adopted by the public press and will be 
used as long as time lasts. It was but fit and proper that that ap- 
propriate title should be first applied to him by a Pennsylvanian, 
for while he was born in Virginia and died in Virginia, yet he 
spent the greater number of his mature years in Pennsylvania. 
No less a historian than Ex-Governor Pennypacker is responsible 
for the latter statement. 

In 17S7, in a list of field officers selected to command the militia 
of Cumberland County, is the following: Toboyne, Tyrone, and 
Pie (Rye) — Lieutenant Colonel. John Davidson; Major, Michael 


Tn [795 the Senate of Pennsylvania voted to make Carlisle the 
State Capital, but the House refused to concur. 

During the period immediately prior to the Revolution, during 
that war and afterwards, while Perry County was yet a part of 
Cumberland, its residents had great reason to admire a fellow 
citizen who was a noted lawyer, a statesman and a patriot who 
was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, that 
great document which has given civilization everywdiere a new 
impetus. James Wilson was born in 1742 and was foremost in 
all matters pertaining to the province, later to the colony, and still 
later to the state. His influence upon the Constitution of the 
United States — second only to that of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence — was probably greater than that of any other member 
of the convention. Largely to his addresses, efforts and public ar- 
ticles was due the ratification of the Constitution by Pennsylvania, 
in 1 791 he established the first law school in America in connec- 
tion with the University of Pennsylvania. In 1789 President 
Washington appointed him a justice of the United States Supreme 

It was from Cumberland County, remembering that Perry 
County was an integral part at that time, that "Molly Pitcher" 
went forth tc the army and the battle of Monmouth, from whence 
has come her fame. Her maiden name was Ludwig, and she was 
wed to a man named Hays. At that time a number of wives of 
soldiers were allowed to accompany the army on errands of mercy 
— to care for the wounded. They were the forerunners of the 
Red Cross nurses of our time. Mrs. Hays was one of these 
women and was carrying water to the soldiers when she saw her 
husband fall at the battle of Monmouth. She immediately took 
his place and fought courageously until the close of the battle, and 
her name, "Molly Pitcher," came by reason of her carrying water 
for the soldiers. She later married again, but it is as "Molly 
Pitcher" that her name will descend for all time as one of the 
heroines of that great conflict. 

During the first thirty-two years that Perry County territory 
was a part of Cumberland County there stood in Carlisle a pillory, 
a whipping post and stocks, where offenders paid the penalty for 
crime. The Act of 1786 did away with that form of punishment. 
A considerable crime of that day was larceny, and the law provided 
that for the first offense of that nature the person so convicted 
should be publicly whipped on his bare back, with stripes well laid 
on to the number of twenty-one. Later offenses carried a larger 
number. Murder, arson, burglary, robbery and witchcraft were 
-punishable by death. After 1785 the public whippings ceased, but 
records show that 150 persons were so punished. Of these seven- 
teen were in addition sentenced to stand in the pillory for one 


hour, and six of them had both ears cut off and nailed to the pil- 
Lory. These latter were convicted of horse stealing and passing 
counterfeit money. 

From 1779 to 1 7&7< m Cumberland County, eleven men and 
women were sentenced to be hanged, three for murder, three for 
robbery, two for burglary, two for counterfeiting, one for rape, 
one for arson, and one for an unmentionable crime. The early 
judges were laymen and were known as justices of the peace. Ac- 
cording to a statute three were required to preside at trials. The 
Act of April 3, 1791, provided for a president judge, learned in 
the law. The old guardhouse, near one of the entrance gates of 
the Carlisle Indian School, now again a military post, was built 
by Hessian soldiers, captured by General Washington's army at 
the battle of Trenton, and sent to Carlisle as prisoners of war. 

A signer of the famous document known as the Declaration for 
the Colony of Pennsylvania was John Creigh, one of the nine rep- 
resentatives. Creigh was the father of Dr. Creigh, long a physi- 
cian at Landisburg, and the grandfather of Rev. Dr. Thomas 
Creigh, born in Landisburg, a noted divine. Of German origin, 
transplanted to Ireland, he came to this country in 1761. He was 
a lieutenant colonel of the Continental Army and a member of the 
Provincial Conference which met in Carpenter's Hall in June, 
1776. In February, 1778, directed by Congress, he administered 
the oath to six hundred and forty-two citizens of Carlisle and 
vicinity. He died February 17, 1813. 

At the last election for Governor of Pennsylvania while Perry 
was yet attached to Cumberland, in 18 17, William Findlay was 
nominated by the (then) Republicans, and General Joseph Heister, 
by the disaffected branch of the party known as "The Old School" 
and the Federalists. Findlay was elected and was the governor 
who signed the act creating the new county of Perry, but at the 
following election for governor, in 1820, General I leister was 
elected as his successor. 

•Even during the term of George Washington as first President 
of the United States insurrection broke out — and in our own fa- 
vored Pennsylvania. Historians term it "the Whiskey Insurrec- 
tion" of 1794. The farmers, and especially of western Pennsyl- 
vania, distilled whiskey in large quantities, that being their prin- 
cipal source of revenue. When the United States passed an act 
laying an excise on liquor the measure was very unpopular in that 
section, and although a people of a generally peaceful disposition, 
they resisted the law. Perry County's territory, as stated, was still 
a part of Cumberland, and Carlisle was its county seat. Troops 
were raised at once to stand by the government and force submis- 
sion of the insurrectionists. This was the occasion of President 
Washington's visit to Carlisle, where he reviewed four thousand 


men under arms, many of them from north of the Kittatinny or 
Blue Mountain. 

Among these troops was the young attorney, David Watts, son 
of General Frederick Watts, born in Wheatfield Township, and 
the first lad from Perry County territory to secure a college edu- 
cation, who joined the troops as a private. Alive to the danger 
of any refusal to support the government and resolute in his oppo- 
sition to the "whiskey boys," who planted a "liberty pole" near 
Carlisle, he shouldered an axe and alone, unaided and unarmed, 
rode to the spot where it stood and felled it to the ground, al- 
though there was a public threat to shoot any one who offered to 
disturb it. Whether the planting of this "liberty pole" of 1794 
was the forerunner of the "personal liberty" party of the begin- 
ning of the Twentieth Century the reader must be left to conjec- 
ture. Another member of the Cumberland militia company, the 
Carlisle Infantry, who helped quell the insurrection was Francis 
Gibson, eldest son of George Gibson, who died at Gibson's Mill 
in 1856. 

As the territory now comprising Perry County was yet a part 
of Cumberland during the agitation attending the adpotion of the 
Constitution of the United States the following episode from 
Rupp's History will be of interest to the reader : 

"In December, 1787, a fracas occurred between the Constitutionalists 
and, Anti-Constitutionalists. A number of citizens from the county as- 
sembled on the 26th (at Carlisle), to express, in their way, aided by the 
firing of cannons, their feelings on the actions of the convention that had 
assembled to frame the Constitution of the United States, when they were 
assaulted by an adverse party; after dealing out blows they dispersed. 
On Thursday, the 27th, those who had assembled the day before met again 
at the courthouse, well armed with guns and muskets. They, however, 
proceeded without molestation, except that those who had opposed them 
also assembled, kindled a bonfire and burned several effigies. For that 
temerity several, styled as rioters, were arrested and snugly lodged in jail. 
They were subsequently, on a compromise between the Federalists and 
Democrats, liberated. The Federalists were the Constitutionalists." 

While Perry was a part of Cumberland, Jacob Alter was elected 
to the Pennsylvania Legislature twenty-one consecutive times upon 
the Whig ticket. His only sister became the wife of Governor 
Joseph Ritner, of Pennsylvania. Cashier James T. Alter and D. 
Boyd Alter, of the First National Bank of New Bloomfield, arc 
of the third generation of this noted family. William Anderson, 
who resided at Andersonburg, also represented Cumberland in the 

Among others located north of the Kittatinny or Blue Moun- 
tains who represented Cumberland County in the legislature 
* before Perry County was formed was David Mitchell, who served 
for more than twenty years. (See chapter on Revolutionary 
War.) He resided first on the Barnett farm at New Bloomfield, 


but sold it to Thomas Barnett and removed, first to Raccoon Val- 
ley, but soon to the well-known Mitchell place, in the Juniata, north 
of Newport, in Oliver Township. His father was Colonel John 
Mitchell, commander of the Cumberland County Militia, whose re- 
mains lie in the Poplar Hill graveyard, on the McKee farm, west 
of New Bloomfield. An interesting document, the text of which 
is here reproduced, refers to soldiers from north of the mountain, 
as well as south, all of which was then Cumberland County. It is 
in connection with the military career of the elder Mitchell, who 
came to America from Ireland, because while enraged at a mem- 
ber of parliament who voted against an issue to which he was 
pledged, struck him, which either meant banishment or death. It 

follows : « T n -, . , _ 

In Council, September 2, 1780. 

"Sir: His excellency, the President of the State, having received or- 
ders from General Washington to dismiss the militia for the present, but 
to hold themselves in readiness to march at an hour's warning; we hereby 
direct you to discharge the Cumberland Militia now under your command 
at Lancaster on the conditions above expressed. At the same time ex- 
pressing our warmest acknowledgments of the readiness with which your 
militia have turned out on this occasion and make no doubt, but on every 
future call, they will manifest the like zeal in the cause of the country. 
"Your Most Honorable Servant, 

"William Moore, Vice-President. 

"To Colonel John Mitchell, Commanding the Cumberland Militia at Lan- 

Robert Mitchell, of the third generation, being a son of David, 
was one of the first board of county commissioners of Perry 
County, and was interviewed by Prof. Silas Wright, the historian, 
in 1872, from which interview we quote: 

"I am now in my ninetieth year; was one of the first board of county 
commissioners of Perry County ; have lived on this place since I was three 
years old. I remember when the deer were so plenty that, from Septem- 
ber to January, thirty-seven were driven into the Juniata River below the 
rope ferry." 

Cumberland County, its people and its traditions, more than any 
other in the state, resembles the original counties of Rucks, Phila- 
delphia, and Chester, formed by William Penn, along the Dela- 
ware. Just as that section was the nucleus of the millions east of 
the Susquehanna, so was Cumberland the nucleus of that vast 
population west of the Susquehanna, occupying a far greater ter- 
ritory. Just as that section takes pride in its traditions, its insti- 
tutions and its ancestry, so does Cumberland. And why not? 
With its institutions, dating back almost to the time of Penn; its 
traditions and its location, as the very outpost of civilization for 
decades, and again at the very borderland of sectional strife, its 
importance historically is self-evident. 

Inextricably intertwined with the history and development of 
the province and of old Mother Cumberland is the series of war- 


l 9 I 

rants, patents, sales and land grants of this then frontier of civili- 
zation. In a volume the size of this it has been impossible to give 
any great number of them, yet, in the history of each township, 
some of the more important are recorded. While squatters or in- 
truders had presumed to settle within the borders of the county, 
as now constituted, and had been dispossessed and in some cases 
their cabins burned, yet there is evidence that a considerable num- 
ber again went in before the opening of the land office on Febru- 
ary 3, 1755. The purchase of 1754, consummated on July 6, had 
likely no sooner been proposed than the lure of the land, like a 
magnet, drew the hardy pioneer across the Kittatinny Mountain 
tor a choice parcel which his eyes had previously feasted upon. 
The fact that claims of that very first day mention the names of 
others as "adjoining them" is in itself evidence that entry had al- 
ready been made. As an example, take the very property on which 
the county seat is located. According to an affidavit of Janus 
Mitchell, taken before David Redich, prothonotary of Washington 
County, Pennsylvania, October 19, 1801, and read before the 
Board of Property, which met at Lancaster : 

"In September, 1753, William Stewart, father of John (party to the 
suit), made an improvement, which was the first made in that part of the 
county, on a tract of land now lying in Cumberland County, bounded as 
follows: Beginning at the mouth of Stewart's branch of Little Juniata 
(Creek) ; then northerly, to a gap in the Mahanoi Mountain, and not to 
cross said mountain, which line was agreed between John Mitchell, father 
of the deponent, who assisted Stewart in building a house on said tract 
some time in the fall of 1753, and Stewart moved in with his family the 
next spring, cleared ground and raised a crop that season." 

The land here in dispute consisted of 348 acres and was known 
as the Bark Tavern tract, being located in Centre Township, the 
lower boundary being near the stone house formerly owned by 
Andrew Comp. 

This affidavit, however, specifically states that the line "was 
agreed between John Mitchell and William Stewart" and names 
the date as September, 1753, which proves that Mitchell had then 
already located the county seat tract. While he had located it and 
agreed with "an adjoiner" upon the line, yet he had not then 
erected an improvement upon it as the affidavit by James Mitchell 
(the son of John) says that William Stewart "made an improve- 
ment, which was the first made in that part of the county." If the 
affidavit is accepted at all from a historical standpoint, and there 
appears no reason why it should not be, then it must be accepted 
in its entirety, which establishes 1753 as being the exact date of 
the entry of the Mitchells and many others into Perry County ter 
ritory, the advance guard of the pioneers. 

There is quite a distinction attached to the original territory — 
Perry and Cumberland Counties. In the capital at Washington — 


in the Hall of Fame — provision has been made for the various 
states to place statues of their two most illustrious sons. The State 
of Georgia has chosen Alexander H. Stephens — congressman, 
statesman, governor — and Dr. Crawford Long — discoverer of 
anaesthesia — as Georgia's most representative citizens. Both are 
the sons of natives of this original county. As stated at a num- 
ber of places in this book and in a separate chapter devoted to 
Mr. Stephens, his father, Andrew Stephens, was born at Dun- 
cannon. Mr. Long's ancestry were from Cumberland County. 
Three brothers named Long — Samuel, Andrew, and another — 
with their father, emigrated from Ulster, Ireland, to Cumberland 
County before the Revolution. They came of staunch stock — 
Sc< itch-Irish Presbyterians — and their name in Britain is associated 
with shipping and banking through generations. Of these broth- 
ers, Samuel went to Georgia, another went West, and the third re- 
mained in Carlisle. Samuel was born in 1753 and fought in the 
Revolution as an ensign, from which one would infer that he was 
barely grown to manhood when he came to America. He married 
Ann Williamson about 1776. About 1790 a colony of Scotch- 
Irish Presbyterians left the Cumberland Valley and went to Geor- 
gia, settling in Madison County. Of that colony Samuel Long 
was one of the leaders. With him went his small son, James, who 
became the father of Dr. Crawford Long. A few years earlier 
another colony had preceded these people to Georgia, where they 
suffered many hardships, yet, in spite of settling in a wilderness, 
they built at Paoli, the second Presbyterian church to be erected 
in the state of Georgia — the New Hope Church, of which Samuel 
and later James Long were elders. With the Longs there went to 
Georgia the Groves, McCurdys and Cartlidges, all reliable fami- 
lies who in after years left their impress on the state. Ansestbesia, 
as the reader is aware, causes insensibility to pain and other ex- 
ternal impressions. Before the discovery of surgical anaesthesia 
surgery was very painful and many patients died from shock due 
to pain. There has long been a contention as to who was the dis- 
coverer of anaethesia, but Dr. Long's experiments and regular use 
of it date to March 30, 1842, predating the actual use by the others 
of from two to four years. Four Americans — Jackson, Wells, 
Morton, and Long — claimed the discovery. The Medical Asso- 
ciation of Georgia, in 1910, unveiled a marble monument to the 
honor of Dr. Crawford Long at Jefferson, Georgia, and in the 
infirmary connected with the University at Athens, Georgia, is a 
Long Memorial. In 1912 the University of Pennsylvania unveiled 
in its medical building a bronze medallion with the inscription. 
"To the memory of Crawford W. Long, 
who first used ether as an ansethetic in surgery, 
March 30, 1842." 


A life-sized marble statue of Dr. Long stands in Paris and the 
state of Georgia has well chosen him one of its two immortals for 
the Hall of Fame in the National Capitol. 

James Long, the lad who left Cumberland County, married 
Elizabeth Ware and became a state senator of Georgia. Llis noted 
son, Dr. Crawford Long, was born at Danielsville, Georgia, No- 
vember 1, 181 5. At the University of Georgia, where he gradu- 
ated at nineteen, his roommate and best friend was Alexander I I. 
Stephens, later vice-president of the Confederacy. At the age oi 
twenty-three he was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania 
in the medical course. He specialized in surgery in the New York 
hospitals for two years. In 1841, then twenty-six, he located at 
Jefferson, Georgia, and in 185 1 he located at Athens, Georgia, 
where he practiced until his death on June 6, 1878. When Georgia . 
decided to go out of the Union Dr. Long said, "This is the saddest 
day of my life," He was a Whig in politics. 

Old Election Districts. 

The Continental Congress in session in Philadelphia passed a resolution 
on May 15, 1776, in reference to the election of representatives from each 
county. Prior to that time the proprietary government ruled and prac- 
tically everything was done by appointment instead of by election. A new 
regime had now begun and at the provincial conference held in Carpen- 
ter's Hall, Philadelphia, June 18 to 25, the counties were divided into dis- 
tricts. Cumberland County was divided into three districts, the third being 
composed of the townships of Tyrone, Toboyne, Rye, Milford, Greenwood, 
Armagh, Lack, Derry, and Fermanagh. This district comprised all of what 
is now Perry, Juniata and Mifflin Counties. The voting place was to be 
"at the house of Robert Campbell, in Tuscarora Valley," being in what is 
now Juniata County. 

The Act of June, 1777, changed the county from three to four districts, 
the third being composed of Tyrone, Toboyne, and Rye, the voting place 
to be at William McClure's— the farm now occupied by the county home 
at Loysville. All the territory east of the river which then comprised 
Greenwood Township was in the fourth district, the voting place being at 
James Purley's, in Fermanagh Township, now in Juniata County. 

lU By the Act of September 13, 1785, entitled 'An act to regulate the 
general elections of this commonwealth and to prevent frauds therein,' 
the state redistricted, and voting places fixed in each district. Cumberland 
County was thrown into four districts. The first was within her present 
limits. The second was composed of the townships of Rye, Tyrone, and 
Toboyne, with the voting place 'at the house of William McClure, Esq., 
in the township of Tyrone.' The third district embraced Greenwood, with 
the townships of Fermanagh, Milford, and Leek (Lack) (now Juniata 
County), with the voting place fixed at the house of Thomas Wilson (Port 
Royal), in the township of Milford.' 

"The citizens of Rye and Greenwood were much inconvenienced by the 
long distance to the voting places, especially Greenwood, and petition was 

1. For much of the information as to old election districts we are in- 
debted to William H. Sponsler's historical article on the subject, prepared 
and read before the Philomathean Literary Society at New Bloomfield 
Academy, many years ago, 


made to the legislature asking relief, which was granted by Act of Sep- 
tember 10, 1787, of which Section IV is in these words: 'And whereas, 
a number of the freemen of the townships of Greenwood and Rye, in the 
county of Cumberland, have, by their petition set forth that their distant 
situation from the place of holding their general elections is found incon- 
venient, and have, therefore, prayed this General Assembly to enact a law 
by which the said townships shall be made a separate district for the 
holding of their general elections. Therefore,' etc. 

"The fifth section accordingly erects Rye and Greenwood into the sixth 
district of Cumberland, with its voting place 'at the mill late the property 
of David English, and known by the name of English's Mill' (at the mouth 
of Buffalo Creek, near Newport). 

"By the Act of the 19th of September, 1789, this sixth district was be- 
reft of a portion of the territory, that part of Greenwood lying north of 
Turkey Hills, which, by an act passed 29th of same month, was made into 
a separate election district of Mifflin County. 

"After Rye was taken from Tyrone and Toboyne, it was found that Mc- 
Clure's, which had, no doubt, been selected with a view to accommodate 
the Rye Township people, as well as the other two townships, was incon- 
venient and the inhabitants asked that a more convenient place be estab- 
lished. The Act of September 30, 1791, was enacted to remedy this among 
others, and the place of election was fixed 'at the house now occupied by 
George Robinson, in Tyrone Township (now Edward R. Loy's, Madison 

"In 1787 the township of Rye and that part of Greenwood lying south 
of the Half Falls Mountain were erected into a separate election district, 
with its voting place 'at the Union schoolhouse, in the town of Petersburg, 
in Rye Township.' 

"The next change was made by the Act of March 8, 1802, Juniata Green- 
wood and that part of Buffalo Township lying north of the Half Falls 
Mountain had their place of holding elections fixed 'at the house now or 
lately occupied by William Woods, at Millerstown, in the township of 

"By the Act of March 21, 1803, the townships of Tyrone and Toboyne 
heretofore together, are separated, each to constitute an election district 
of itself. Tyrone was to vote 'at the schoolhouse in the town of Landis- 
burg,' and Toboyne 'at the house now occupied by Henry Zimmerman, in 
said township.' 

"By the Act of February 11, 1805, Buffalo Township was made a sepa- 
rate election district, with a voting place 'at the house now occupied by 
William Thompson, in Buffalo Township.' 

"By the Act of March 19. 1816, it was provided that 'the electors re- 
siding within the eastern part of Greenwood Township be divided as fol- 
lows: beginning in the narrows of Berris (Berry's) Mountain; thence 
westerly above the summit of the said mountain, six miles; thence north- 
erly by a line parallel with the river Susquehanna to the line of Cumber- 
land Count}- ; thence easterly along the said line to said river ; thence 
down said river to the place of beginning, shall hold their general elec- 
tions at the house of Henry Raymon,' now in Liverpool Township. 

"By the thirty-second section of the Act of March 24, t8i8, the voting 
place of Buffalo Township was changed to the house of Frederick Deal, 
in said township, and by the twelfth section of the Act of March 29, 1819, 
the township of Saville was erected into a separate election district, with 
voting place 'at a schoolhouse near Ickesburg, in said township.' 


"hi [820, when the county was separated from Cumberland as a new 
county the election districts and voting places were as follows: Toboyne, 
house of Henry Zimmerman; Tyrone, schoolhouse, Landisburg; Saville, 
schoolhouse. North Ickesburg; Buffalo, house of Frederick Deal; East 
Greenwood, house of Henry Raymon; Rye, Union schoolhouse, Peters- 
burg; Juniata and West Greenwood, W. Woods' house, Millerstown. 

"A change was made in i860, and the following were made the voting 
places: At the schoolhouse in Germantown district; at Zimmerman's 
tavern for the lower district of Toboyne; at the schoolhouse in Landis- 
burg for Tyrone Township; at the schoolhouse near Ickesburg for Saville; 
at John Koch's (Kough's) tavern for the northern district of Juniata 
Township; at the Union schoolhouse near the Methodist Church in 
Wheatfield Township; at Colonel Bovard's tavern for Rye Township; 
at the house of Straw, for Buffalo Township; at the house of John Gard- 
ner, Millerstown, for Greenwood Township; at the house of John Eber- 
ling. in Liverpool Township. 

"At this time a new district was made composed of parts of Juniata, 
Wheatfield, Tyrone, and Saville Townships, bounded as follows : Begin- 
ning at the mouth of Little Buffalo Creek in Juniata Township; thence 
up said creek to the house of John Smith, in Saville Township, including 
said house; thence by a straight line to the house of Abraham Kistler, 
in Tyrone Township, including said house ; thence by a straight line to 
Jacob Shatto's sawmill in said township; thence down the summit of 
Iron Ridge, to the house of John Greer, in Wheatfield Township, includ- 
ing said house; thence along the summit of Dick's Hill to Johnston's saw- 
mill in said township ; thence by a straight line to Dick's Gap, in Juniata 
Township; thence along the summit of Mahanoy Hill to the house of 
Alexander Watson, on the bank of Juniata River, including said house; 
thence up said river to place of beginning. 

"A few years later, as townships were erected, separate election dis- 
tricts were made embracing the townships, and, with the exception of 
Madison Township, each township is an election district to-day. The 
north end of Madison was cut off into a separate district called Sandy 
Hill or Northeast Madison, which practically is a separate township, with 
the single exception of in the election of justices of the peace, both dis- 
tricts voting for the same candidates for this one office." 

Newport borough is the only town in the county which has two separate 
election districts, the first and second wards. 

Several special acts relating to polling places in Perry County were 
passed by the Pennsylvania Legislature. That of March 4, 1842, added 
Henry's Valley to Tyrone Township for voting purposes, and that of 
March 12, 1849, added part of Juniata Township to Saville Township, 
and made Ickesburg the polling place. An Act of March 6, 1849, annexed 
to Greenwood Township for election purposes "all that part of Juniata 
Township, commencing on the Juniata River, on division line of Perry and 
Juniata Counties, thence along said line on Tuscarora Mountain until it 
comes opposite the upper line of Samuel Black's farm, thence along said 
upper line to top of Raccoon Ridge one mile, thence south to Patton's 
schoolhouse, thence along the Oliver Township line to the Juniata River." 

In a general election district bill vetoed by Governor Bigler and passed 
over his head by the House on January if), 1844. and by the Senate, Janu- 
ary 22, 1844, parts of Tyrone, Saville, and Madison Townships were made 
an election district, with the voting place at Andesville (now Loysville), 
It was repealed by an Act of March 9, 1844, less than sixty days later. 


Lewis, The Robber. 

The history of Lewis, the robber, is of no consequence in this 
hook, except in so far as his depredations and abode concerns the 
territory, as lie was a native of Carlisle, but even left there when 
he was but three years old. The year of the organization of Perry 
County was, strangely enough, coincident with the passing of 
Lewis, who died July 13, 1820, in the Bellefonte jail, when only 
thirty years of age, a victim of his own bad life. The very first 
issues of the Perry Forester tell of his capture and later of his 
death. There are those who uphold him as a gentleman robber, 
who stole from the rich to give to the poor, but his own confession, 
dated the day before his death, belies that assertion, as he pleads 
guilty to almost the whole category of crime, save murder. How- 
ever, in some instances he did steal from the rich to give to the 
poor, if tradition be true; and tradition is persistent, in news- 
paper and locality. This story appears with slight variations at 
various places. 

On one occasion Lewis dropped in to rob a home and the lady 
occupant told him she was a widow, had no money and that the 
constable was coming to take her cow for her overdue taxes, 
accompanying the statement with tears. Lewis asked her the 
amount of the taxes and gave her an amount of money sufficient 
to pay them, telling her to say nothing of the fact that he had been 
there or where she had gotten the money. As he was hungry she 
gave him a meal. Shortly after he left, the expected officer of the 
law came, the taxes were paid and he departed, but on his way 
home Lewis held him up and not only got the tax money, but all 
that he had. Lewis is said to have remarked that that was the best 
investment he ever made. 

He roamed the country from the Susquehanna west as far as 
Fayette County, and was a notorious counterfeiter, according to 
his own confession. ITe was always in search of victims to rob. 
One of his favorite resorts was in the Kittatinny or Blue Moun- 
tains, north from Doubling Gap Springs, where there was a cave, 
which was the size of an ordinary living room, being formed by a 
projecting rock. The spot is known to hunters to this day, its 
location having been handed down from one generation to another. 
Time has wrought much in its destruction by the disintegration 
of the rock by the elements, partly filling the cave. From a point 
not far from the cave he had a fine view of the valleys below and 
the trails up the mountain. From that point he watched for offi- 
cers of the law, and confederates in the valleys below used to dis- 
play danger signals to him when strangers were in the vicinity. 
One of these confederates was reputed to be a man named Moffitt, 
and on entering the cave at one time officers found anions: other 


things an almanac bearing his name. Near the big spring at Mt. 
Patrick is one of the places where tradition would have a rendez- 
vous of Lewis. This may have been possible, as there is a well 
founded tradition that a stranger once called on Peter Musselman, 
at Liverpool, to have a tooth drawn, and that he "later found it to 
have been Lewis, upon whose head was a price." Mr. Musselman, 
by the way, was in France as a student during the trying period 
of the French Revolution. 

But Lewis didn't learn his deviltry in this vicinity, as the follow- 
lowing brief account of his life will show : 

David Lewis was born in Carlisle, Cumberland County, Penn- 
sylvania, March 4, 1790, and was one of a numerous family of 
children; and according to his deathbed confession he grew up 
"without regard for men and little fear of God." Three years 
later his father was made a deputy district surveyor and removed 
to Northumberland County, where he died several years later, 
while David was yet a small boy. He remained with his mother, 
doing occasional farm labor for farmers until 1807, when he left 
home. After trying several avocations he enlisted in the army at 
Bellefonte. A petty offense caused the sergeant to endeavor to 
arrest him, but he ran away. Some time later, using the assumed 
name of Armstrong Lewis, he enlisted in Capt. Wm. N. Irvin's 
company of artillery in the United States service, at Carlisle. He 
did this in order to get the bounty money and then decamp, but 
failed. He then decided that he would study law and tried to get 
out of the army for that purpose by having a writ issued. After 
a tedious hearing before John D. Creigh, then associate judge of 
Cumberland County, he was remanded into the army. This hear- 
ing caused an inquiry to be made into his past life and it was dis- 
covered that he had once before enlisted in the army under his 
right name and deserted. 

The rumbling of the second war with Great Britain was already 
heard, and according to the strict military discipline of the time 
Lewis was sentenced to be executed. His mother, then living in 
Centre County, rode overland on a horse loaned by Judge Walker, 
to aid him. Eventually he was reprieved in so far as the death sen- 
tence was concerned, but was sentenced to life imprisonment. He 
was first imprisoned, attached to a ball and chain, but gradually 
ingratiated himself into the good graces of the guards and effected 
his escape. Once free Lewis escaped to a small cave north of 
Carlisle, where he remained until long after nightfall when hunger 
drove him forth. Arousing a woman who lived by the wayside 
he was served a cooked meal and given a bed, but before morning 
he decamped and departed for Centre County, where his mother 
lived, crossing the Kittatinny or Blue Mountain, and traveling 
across what later became Perry County. 


Later, meeting an itinerant tin peddler of a nomadic elan which 
frequented the countryside in those days, he learned of a concern 
at Burlington, Vermont, which issued counterfeit hills, and forth- 
with made a trip there and in due time headed for Pennsylvania, 
a counterfeiter with his wares ready for the market. While pass- 
ing through New York State he bought a horse of a General Root, 
then a candidate for office and paid for it with counterfeit bills. 
He was soon detected and jailed in Troy, where, through a girl 
friend of the sheriff's daughter, he effected his escape on a Sun- 
day night while the sheriff was at church. In company with the 
girl, whom he promised to marry, he arrived in Albany the next 
evening and kept his word and had the marriage ceremony imme- 
diately performed. 

The next day Lewis imparted to his unsuspecting girl- wife the 
less criminal of his actions. Up to this time he had kept her in 
ignorance of any previous improprieties and insisted that his 
prosecution in the horse purchase was really persecution on account 
of politics. During the several days following, Lewis and his wife 
traveled to New York, the latter having secured passage on the 
wagon of a Yankee, bound to New York with his wares. In New 
York Lewis soon associated with his kind and became an ordinary 
sneak thief and burglar, according to his own confession. There 
he belonged to a gang which signed a parchment with their own 

After a time in New York, where he had personally robbed Mrs. 
John Jacob Astor of much finery which she had purchased, he was 
accused by his accomplices of not turning in all of the same to the 
general "fund." He became disgusted and with his wife traveled 
to New Brunswick, New Jersey, and set up housekeeping. Leav- 
ing his wife there he journeyed to Princeton, posed as a Southern 
planter and by gambling fleeced the students out of hundreds of 
dollars. As soon as the holiday recess was over at Princeton Lewis 
moved on to Philadelphia, where he resumed sneak thieving. He 
had conceived a plan there to lure to the country Stephen Girard, 
the wealthy banker, and hold him for a ransom, but his small 
daughter's illness recalled him to New Brunswick. 

After spending some time at home he started for the Canadian 
lines, hut became penniless .and hired to a farmer. Hardly had he 
done so until the farmer's team was impressed into the service of 
the United States Army. Lewis drove it away, and when it was 
no longer needed he "drove it away" again, but towards his old 
haunts in Pennsylvania, selling it as soon as he could. He was 
then traveling under the fictitious name of Peter Vanbeuren. He 
landed at Stoyestown, Pennsylvania, where he learned from an- 
other crook that his wife was dead and buried. 



In the mountains near there he joined a band of counterfeiters 
and, when they made some accusation against him, he waited until 
they slept and robbed them. This wealth he claims to have put in 
a bottle and buried, forgetting the place, but as his whole life was 
crooked his statements, too, must not be taken too seriously. In 
his confession he tells of stealing a horse in Maryland, coming to 
Cumberland County and getting arrested for passing counterfeit 
money, escaping to see his family, returning to Cumberland Count v 
with other counterfeiters and embarking in the business there. 

This establishment was in the South Mountain. Lewis then tells 
of proceeding to Landisburg, where he passed a $100 counterfeit 
note to a Mr. Anderson, a merchant, whose place was in the build- 
ing owned by the heirs of George Patterson. Passing through 
Roxbury, Strasburg, and Fannettsburg, he gathered in $1,500 in 
real money, which he deposited in the Bedford bank. He was 
arrested and found guilty of counterfeiting, his sentence being 
ten years in the penitentiary, but Governor Findlay pardoned him 
after serving a year. He returned to Bedford to get his money, 
but it was refused. Here he fell in with a man named Rumbaugh, 
but traveling under the name of Conelly, and another who called 
himself Hanson. The three overtook a drover, who was return- 
ing westward on horseback, and robbed him, tying both man and 
horse to a tree, with a threat of death if he tried to get away. 
Lewis here prevented the other two from killing the drover, say- 
ing they would have to kill him first. The drover got away and 
aroused the community. The robbers made for the Juniata River 
country but were captured and returned to Bedford. They escaped 
from there and after some more robberies, recaptures and escapes, 
they turned to the Juniata River country again, with which they 
were familiar, and made an effort to reach New York State. Ac- 
cording to the "Life and Adventures of David Lewis," being ex- 
hausted they stopped at a tavern below Lewistown. Sheriff Samuel 
Edmiston learned of it and with a posse of about thirty men went 
In the hotel. One man was sent in to carelessly discover whether 
or not they were there. He returned and reported them in bed. 
The posse closed in and a half-dozen brave men quietly ascended 
the stairs and found them sleeping. On awakening Lewis he im- 
mediately reached for a weapon, but the sheriff overpowered him. 
When taken to the Bedford jail, he said it wouldn't hold him long, 
and it didn't. The sheriff, as an extra precaution, had handcuffed 
him, but he slipped the cuffs and escaped. They later got to Clear- 
field County, and one day recklessly began shooting at a mark, 
which aroused the neighborhood and they were surrounded, but 
.defied the posse. The result was that Lewis was shot through the 
arm, which shortly thereafter, July 13, 1820, caused his death, and 
that Conelly was shot in the groin and died in a few hours. 


When Lewis escaped from the Bedford jail he was in irons, 
according to the public press of the period. He succeeded in get- 
ling' to a near by woods, where, by use of a hie, he cut the irons 
fi'i mi his person. The advertisements describing him make him 
"six feet tall, square shoulders, reddish hair, speaks quick and has 
a fierce look." 

While Lewis is supposed to have had no education, his confes- 
sion belies that supposition, both from the standpoint of language 
and logic. He flays the Carlisle lawyers and the public officials, 
naturally, for had it not been for them he might have had easier 
sailing. Endeavoring to find a cause for what he terms his "mis- 
fortunes and crimes," he says: 

"When I look back upon my ill-spent life, and endeavor to dis- 
cover the cause or source from which all my misfortunes and 
crimes have sprung and proceeded, I am inclined to trace their 
origin to the want of early instruction. Had my widowed mother 
been possessed of the means of sending me to school, and afforded 
me the opportunity of profiting by an education during the early 
part of my youth, instead of being engaged in idle sports and 
vicious pursuits, I might have been employed in the studies of use- 
t nl knowledge, and my mind by this means have received an early 
tendency to virtue and honesty from which it would have not 
afterwards been diverted. But, alas! She was poor, and the Legis- 
lature of Pennsylvania — I blush with indignation when I say it — 
had made no provision, nor has she yet made any adequate one, 
tor the gratuitious education of the children of the poor. Until 
this is done and schools are established at the public expense for 
teaching those who are without the means of paying for instruc- 
tion, ignorance will cover the land with darkness, and vice and 
crime run down our streets as a mighty torrent." - 

The writer feels like apologizing for publishing this account, 
but it it will show at least one boy the value of his free schooling, 
where his mind is kept on useful things, instead of those of a 
vicious nature, it is not done in vain. The fact that Lewis' life, 
through dissipation, vice, exposure and crime, was only thirty 
short years, will also impress the youth of the land as they see 
about them men and women of sixty, seventy, and even eighty, 
enjoying all the comforts of life, a tribute to lives of honesty, dis- 
cretion and labor. 

This chapter would not be complete without adding that Lewis 
came of good people, that he was the only member of his family 
who trod the crooked pathway and that his children lived honest 
and straightforward lives. About 1845 a handsome young woman 
— a daughter of the robber by a second marriage — resided with her 
mother at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's capital, where she attracted 
much attention by her frank, open, womanly bearing. 


BY an act of the State Legislature of the Commonwealth of 
Pennsylvania Perry County was created, the act being signed 
by the governor, William Findlay, on March 22, 1820. It 
was the fifty-first county of the state. The territory was a part 
of the lands covered by the Indian treaty at Albany, New York, 
)ulv 6, 1754, of which mention is made elsewhere. The lands 
covered by this treaty were all embraced in Cumberland County 
at that time, and the northern part was formed into counties, the 
last one being Mifflin, in 1789. 

When Perry County was formed it comprised the seven town- 
ships of Cumberland County lying north of the Blue Hills, or 
Kittatinny Mountains. Tyrone, early being known as "the ever- 
lasting State of Tyrone," was the oldest of these townships, being 
erected in 1754. The other six were Toboyne, 1762; Rye. 1766; 
Greenwood, 1767 ; Juniata, 1793; Buffalo, 1798; and Saville. 

The population of these townships was considerable, and with 
the incoming of new settlers, frequent trips to the county seat at 
Carlisle were necessary in connection with the new claims, over 
roads which were at some seasons of the year almost impassable. 
The fact that most of the changes in property in those days occurred 
around the first of April, when the roads were at their worst, and 
that the shortest routes lay over the Kittatinny Mountain, no doubt, 
actuated the movement for the new county, with a county seat 
within easy distance. In conformity with this desire petitions 
were presented to the State Legislature then in session and the act 
creating Perry County was passed. 

With the passing years the residents of what is now Perry — of 
the Sherman's Valley and the land between the rivers — became 
discontented as a part of a county whose seat of justice was south 
of that great natural barrier, the Kittatinny or Blue Mountain, 
and not at all central. In fact, the physical features of the entire 
territory of Cumberland at that time were such that there could 
be no logical central point to locate a seat of justice ; nature had 
decreed it otherwise. Those located north of the Kittatinny had 
to travel distances which were as far as forty miles to the county 
'seat ; unlike those of the south side they could not return to their 
homes the same day, and were thus necessitated securing hotel 
accommodations, which cost thousands of dollars annually. The 



expense of both time and money required for legal action at the 
far-away seat of justice (with the then methods of travel) often 
was the cause of those guilty of crimes going unpunished. These 
and many other reasons are enumerated in the petition praying 
for the new county. 

Comprising practically half of Cumberland County, the citizens 
of what is now Perry contributed approximately half of the 
taxes. The public buildings at Carlisle had been built by funds 
supplied by taxation on both sides of the mountain, yet those early 
settlers of the north side, sometimes referred to in derision as 
"Hoop-Pole Perry" by those of the southern side, did not ask a 
commission's action in stating just what part of their cost should 
be refunded to the northern section — as is often done in this mod- 

Photo by M. C. Shoivalter. 
Central section of Landisburg. To the left, the Reformed church, once the seat of 
Mt. Dempsey Academy. 

ern age and rightly so — but specifically stated "all of which they 
are willing to give up," an everlasting credit to their magnanimity 
and financial independence. Such were the sons of the pioneers! 
As the population of the northern section increased, murmurings 
— at first considered a mere passing whim — were heard. Gradu- 
ally separation from the mother county became a matter of bitter 
contention in local affairs and in elections, often causing bitterness 
which passed from one generation to another. It seems strange 
that in a few of the older people a trace of resentment is still to 
be found, a heritage from the generation that is gone. Those who 
advocated a new county were at first considered fanatics and later 
— when their number had become worth reckoning with — were 
known as "separatists" on the north side of the mountain and as 
"seceders" on the south side. At the general elections the matter 
was uppermost, and often upon it hinged defeat or political ad- 
vancement. Of the bitterness, as the years passed, there is evi- 
dence here and there. The story is told of an early settler and 
wife visiting her people in Carlisle and of a hasty departure for 


home on account ot a vow that "no child of mine shall first open 
his eyes on the Cumberland side of the mountain." 

Eventually, after years of consideration and when the small 
body of original enthusiasts had grown to a vast majority of the 
residents of the northern section, petitions were prepared and cir- 
culated, with the end in view of presenting them to the Pennsyl- 
vania General Assembly in session at Harrisburg, praying that a 
new county be formed. The petitions were printed and a time- 
worn one is in the possession of W. H. Sponsler, a New Bloom- 
field attorney-at-law. At several places words are obliterated by 
the ravages of time, but are supplied for the purpose of making 
clear the meaning of the instrument, the contents of which follow : 

The Petition, 

Of the subscribers residing in that part of Cumberland County called 
Shearman's Valley, situate on the north side of the Blue Mountain, to the 
Honorable the Senate, and House of Representatives, of the Common- 
wealth of Pennsylvania, in General Assembly met, at their session of 

Humbly Showeth, 
That your Petitioners again renew their prayers for a division of Cum- 
berland County, because its local situation, and the convenience and pros- 
perity of the people of Shearman's Valley, imperiously require a division. 
The local situation of Cumberland County, is as follows, viz: It is bound 
on the north by the Tuscarora Mountain, on the south by the South Moun- 
tain. The Blue Mountain runs through the County, nearly east and west, 
making a natural division of said County into two valleys, nearly of equal 
territory and population. Carlisle, our present seat of Justice, is situate 
in the Valley on the Southern side, not more than six miles from the 
south boundary, and in the most eligible and central part of it, on the very 
spot where it ought to be, had Shearman's Valley never been attached 
thereto. On the north side of the Blue Mountain, lies Shearman's Valley, 
our proposed new county, which is in length east and west, from forty 
eight to fifty miles; and the general breadth, from sixteen to eighteen 
miles ; containing twenty-two hundred taxable inhabitants. We have 
forty-eight Grist and Merchant Mills, sixty Sawmills, ten Fulling Mills, 
eight Carding Machines, four Oil Mills, one Forge, one Furnace, two 
Tilt-hammers and one Powder Mill; we have beautiful settlements, 
fertile and well cultivated lands, and wealthy inhabitants, yet notwith- 
standing all our local advantages for want of a division the people from 
the upper end of Shearman's Valley have to travel thirty-six, and the peo- 
ple from the lower extreme, have to travel about forty miles, to Carlisle, 
our present seat of Justice; and that is not all, we have to cross and re- 
cross, that almost insuperable barrier, the Blue Mountain, besides the Con- 
nodoguinet Creek, which is often times not fordable and in going by 
Bridge, those from the upper end of Shearman's Valley, have to travel 
seven additional miles in going to or coming from Carlisle. 

There are a number of counties in the State, which have neither the 
population, extent of territory nor fertility of soil that either the old or 
new counties would have if divided, and a great many more, that the 
whole amount of lands, are not valued so high, as is the land in Cumber- 
land County. 

Therefore, in point of numbers and wealth, we consider ourselves alto- 
gether competent to support a County and the administration of Justice ; 


for if a division was granted, our saving in travelling expenses, and lying 
at Court in Carlisle, at so great distance from home, would amount in 
short time to a sum sufficient, to make our Public Buildings; and Justice 
could be administered, for much less than one-half the expense, that the 
whole County now costs. For the intercourse between the people on tins 
side, and the people on the other side the Blue Mountain, is so trifling, 
that it rarely happens, that any suit of importance comes before the Court, 
where persons from both sides are concerned. But the Court being occu- 
pied by parties both from one side or the other; so that while causes 
from the south side of the Blue Mountain are before the Court, the people 
from the north side, who have causes depending, are obliged to lie with 
their witnesses, at great expense, very often for several courts succes- 
sively, which in most cases increases the expenses above the matter in 
controversy: and moreover, it gives the wicked, unjust and troublesome, 
a complete triumph over Justice, because many would rather give up their 
just rights, than seek Justice at such a vast expense, and further, the peo- 
ple on this side of the Blue Mountain, have been at their full share of ex- 
penses, in building a Court House, a house for the public offices, a Jail 
and Penitentiary at Carlisle; all which they are willing to give up their 
part of, to the people on the other side, if the Legislature will pass a law 
to divide the County. 

It would be a moderate computation, to say that each taxable inhabitant 
of our proposed new County, would have to go to Carlisle, at least once 
a year, on business, either to Court, or some of the public offices; the ex- 
penses upon the average, with loss of time, cannot be computed at less 
than three dollars per man. If we were divided, there would be a saving 
of at least one-half, say 3300 dollars, to the people of this side, in the bare 
item of travelling expenses and loss of time. Besides there would be a 
saving of at least double that sum in Mileage of Sheriffs, Jurors, and Wit- 
nesses, to say nothing of the saving to the estates of widows and orphans. 
Upon the whole, the people on this side of the Blue Mountain, at a mod- 
erate calculation sustain a loss of at least 10,000 dollars per annum for 
want of division. 

We ask part of no other County, we ask barely what nature intended, 
by rearing a stupendous Mountain, dividing the present large boundary of 
Cumberland County into two Valleys nearly equal; each of which being 
sufficiently large for a County, and the people on our side, labour under 
the most intolerable inconvenience, by reason of their having to cross the 
Mountain, whenever business of a public nature is to be transacted. 

Therefore, your petitioners most sincerely pray that your Honorable 
body, will pass a law, to divide Cumberland County, making the summit 
of the Blue Mountain the division line. 

And we further pray, that the Governor be authorized to appoint three 
or five disinterested, respectable, Judicious and honest men, living out of 
the County, to explore our new County, and fix a scite for the seat of 
lustice, and your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. 

We, the undersigned living on the south side of the Blue Mountain pray 
the representatives of Pennsylvania, in general assembly met now in ses- 
sion of 1819-20 to grant the people of Shearman's Valley a County north 
of the Blue Mountain separate from Cumberland County and your peti- 
tioners as in duty bound will pray, etc. 

The words ''that your petitioners again renew their prayers," 
in the beginning of the petition, imply that previous effort or ef- 
forts had been made towards separation from Cumberland County, 


but attempts to find facts relating thereto have been unavailing. 
While the language of the petition is more or less crude, the rea- 
sons presented were plausible, as any person having even a small 

knowledge of legal procedure must readily sec. Who were the 
leading spirits that urged it and later saw it an accomplished fact ? 
No records remain to tell, but a perusal of the early citizens whose 
names stand forth in the county's first years must necessarily in- 
clude many of them. Having pressed to success their design it 
would be but natural to see them play a leading part in the affairs 
of their new county. 

To the south lay Carlisle — staid, pedantic, historic, aristocratic 
and the seat of a government military post. It seemed strange to 
that town "that a country of sparse population, with no towns of 
importance and only a river or two and a few mountain streams 
for transportation and selling mostly 'hoop poles' and furs" should 
have a desire to become a separate county. Its formation would 
be a great blow to the commerce and trade of Carlisle, as to it 
went largely the trade of the entire Sherman's Valley, taken thence 
by those who went on legal errands ; and from Carlisle came the 
opposition to the birth of the new county. Until then the Sher- 
man's Valley people were largely tied economically to Carlisle ; 
but the building of the canals and later the railroad changed the 
course of trade. The automobile has again somewhat reversed 
trade conditions for residents of the vicinity of Shermansdale. 
At the time of the passage of this act William Anderson, of the 
Perry County territory, was one of the three members of the legis- 
lature from Cumberland County. 

The text of the act creating the new county follows : 

The Legislative Act Creating Perry County. 

An act erecting part of Cumberland County, into a separate county to be 
called Perry. 

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in General Assembly met. and it is hereby 
enacted by the authority of the same, That from and after the first day of 
September next all that part of Cumberland County lying north of the 
Blue Mountain, beginning on the summit of the Blue Mountain, where the 
Franklin County line crosses the same, and running thence along the sum- 
mit thereof an eastwardly course to the river Susquehanna, thence up the 
west side of the same to the line of Mifflin County, thence along the Mifflin 
County line to the summit of the Tuscarora Mountain, thence along the 
summit of the same to the Franklin County line, thence along the same to 
the place of beginning, be and the same is hereby declared to be erected 
into a separate county to be called Perry. 

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid. That the 
inhabitants of the said county of Perry from and after the first day of 
September next, shall be entitled to and at all times thereafter have, all 
and singular the courts, jurisdictions, offices, rights and privileges, to which 


the inhabitants of other counties of this state are entitled by the Constitu- 
tion and laws of this commonwealth. 

Sec 3. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid. That the 
several courts in and for the said county of Perry, shall be opened and 
held at such house in the town of Landisburg, as may be designated by 
the commissioners of said county, to be elected at the next general elec- 
tion, until a courthouse shall be erected in and for said county, as is here- 
inafter directed, and shall be then held at said courthouse, at which place 
the returns of the general election in and for the county of Perry shall 
be made. 

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the 
suits which shall be pending and undetermined in the Court of Common 
Pleas of Cumberland County, on the first day of September next, where 
both parties in suit or suits shall at that time be resident in the county of 
Perry, shall be transferred to the Court of Common Pleas of Perry 
County, and shall be considered as pending in said court, and shall be 
proceeded on in like manner as if the same had been. originally commenced 
in said court, except that the fees on the same due to the officers of Cum- 
berland County, shall be paid to them when recovered by the prothonotary 
or sheriff of Perry County; and the prothonotary of Cumberland County 
shall on or before the first day of September next purchase a docket, and 
copy therein all the docket entries respecting the said suits to be trans- 
ferred as aforesaid, and shall on or before the first day of November 
next, have the said docket, together with the records, declarations and 
other papers respecting said suits, ready to be delivered to the prothono- 
tary of Perry County; the expense of said docket and copying to be paid 
by the prothonotary of Perry County, and reimbursed by the said county 
of Perry, on warrants to be drawn by the commissioners of Perry County 
on the treasurer thereof. 

Sec. 5. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all 
taxes or arrears of taxes laid or which have become due within the said 
county of Perry before the passing of this act, and all sums of money due 
to this commonwealth for militia fines in the said county of Perry, shall 
be collected and recovered as if this act had not been passed: Provided 
always, That the money arising from county taxes assessed or to be as- 
sessed within the limits of the county of Perry, subsequently to the first 
day of November last, shall from time to time, as the same may be col- 
lected, be paid into the treasury of the county of Cumberland for the use 
and benefit of the county of Perry; until a treasurer shall be appointed 
in the county of Perry, and the treasurer of the county of Cumberland 
shall keep separate accounts thereof, and pay the same to the treasurer 
of the county of Perry as soon as he shall have been appointed; and 
whatever part of said taxes may remain uncollected in the county of 
Perry at the time of the appointment of the treasurer thereof, the same 
shall be collected in the usual manner, and paid into the treasury of the 
county of Perry. 

See. 6. And he it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the 
sheriff, treasurer, prothonotary and all such officers as are by law required 
to give surety for the faithful discharge of the duties of their respective 
offices, who shall hereafter be appointed or elected in the said county of 
Perry, before they or any of them shall enter on the execution thereof, 
shall give sufficient security in the same manner and form and for the 
same uses, trusts and purposes, as such officers for the time being are 
obliged by law to give in the county of Cumberland. 

Sec. 7. And be if further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the 
sheriff, coroner and other officers of the county of Cumberland, shall con- 


2< >; 

tinue to exercise the duties of their respective offices within the county 
of Perry, until similar officers shall be elected or appointed, as the case 
may be, agreeably to law within the said county; and the persons who 
shall be appointed associate judges for the county of Perry, shall take 
and subscribe the requisite oaths or affirmation of office before the pro- 
thonotary of the Court of Common Pleas of the county of Cumberland, 
who shall file a record of the same in the office of the prothonotary of 
the Court of Common Pleas of Perry County. 

Sec. 8. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the 
inhabitants of the county of Perry shall elect one representative and the 
county of Cumberland two, until otherwise altered, and in conjunction 
with Cumberland County one senator to serve in the legislature of this 
commonwealth in the same mode, under the same regulations, and make 
return thereof in the same manner, as is directed by the fifteenth section 
of this act. 

Sec. 9. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid. That the 
governor be and he is hereby authorized and required, on or before the 
first day of September next ensuing, to appoint three discreet and disin- 
terested persons, not resident in the counties of Cumberland or Perry, 
whose duty it shall be, to fix on a proper and convenient scite for a court- 
house, prison and county offices within the aforesaid county of Perry, as 
near the centre thereof, as circumstances will admit, having regard to the 
convenience of roads, territory, population and the accommodation of the 
people of the said county generally; and said persons, or a majority of 
them, having viewed the relative advantages of the several situations con- 
templated by the people, shall on or before the first day of September 
next, by a written report under their hands or under the hands of a ma- 
jority of them, certify, describe and limit the scite or lot of land which 
they shall have chosen for the purpose aforesaid, and shall transmit the 
said report to the governor of this commonwealth; and the persons so as 
aforesaid appointed, shall each receive three dollars per diem for their 
services out of the monies to be raised in pursuance of this act: Provided 
always, That before the commissioners shall proceed to perform the du- 
ties enjoined on them by this act, they shall take an oath or affirmation 
before some judge or justice of the peace, well and truly and with fidelity 
to perform said duties without favor to any person, according to the true 
intent and meaning of this act. 

Sec. 10. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it 
shall and may be lawful for the commissioners of the county of Perry 
who shall be elected at the next annual election, to take assurance to them 
and their successors in office of such lot, or lots or piece of ground as 
shall have been approved of by the persons appointed as aforesaid, or a 
majority of them, for the purpose of erecting thereon a courthouse, jail 
and offices for the safe keeping of the records; and the county commis- 
sioners are hereby authorized to assess, levy and collect in the manner 
directed by the acts for raising county rates and levies, a sufficient sum to 
defray the expenses thereof, and also are hereby authorized to assess, 
levy and collect for the purpose of building a courthouse and prison, which 
they are hereby authorized to erect, a sufficient sum to defray the ex- 
penses thereof. 

Sec. 11. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the 
said county of Perry shall form a part of the district composed of the 
counties of Cumberland, Franklin and Adams for the election of members 
of congress. 

Sec. 12. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid. That the 
judges of the Supreme Court shall have like powers, jurisdictions and 


authorities within the said county of Perry, as hy law they are vested 
with and entitled to have and exercise in other counties of this state; 
and the said county is hereby annexed to the southern district of the Su- 
preme Court. 

Sec. 13. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the 
county of Perry shall be annexed to and compose part of the ninth judi- 
cial district of this commonwealth and the courts in said county of Perry 
shall be held on the Monday after the courts in Franklin County. 

Sec. 14. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all 
certioraries directed to and appeals from the judgment of any justice of 
the peace of the said county of Perry, and all criminal prosecutions which 
may originate in the said county before the test day hereinafter mentioned, 
shall be proceeded in as heretofore in the Courts of Common Pleas and 
Quarter Sessions of the county of Cumberland, and all process to issue 
from the courts of the said county of Perry, returnable to the first term 
in said county, shall bear test on the third Monday of November next. 

Sec. 15. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the 
judges of the district elections within each of the said counties of Cum- 
berland and Perry after having formed the returns of the whole election 
for senator within each county in such maimer as is or may be directed 
by law, shall on the third Tuesday in October in each year send the same 
by one or more of their number to the courthouse in the borough of Car- 
lisle in the county of Cumberland, when and where the judges so met 
shall cast up the several county returns, and execute under their respec- 
tive hands as many returns for the whole district as may be requisite, and 
also transmit the same as is by law required of the return judges in other 

Sec. 16. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid. That in 
all cases when it would be lawful for the sheriff, jailor, or prison keeper 
of the county of Perry, to hold in close custody the body of any person 
in the common jail of the said county, if such jail were at this time erected 
in and for the said county, such persons shall be delivered to and kept in 
close custody by the sheriff, jailor or prison keeper of the county of Cum- 
berland, who upon delivery of such prisoner to him or to them at the 
common jail in said county of Cumberland shall safely keep him, her or 
them until they be discharged by due course of law, and shall also be an- 
swerable in like manner and liable to the same pains and penalties as if 
the persons so delivered were liable to confinement in the common jail of 
Cumberland County; and the parties aggrieved shall be entitled to the 
same remedies against them or any of them, as if such prisoner had been 
committed to his or their custody by virtue of legal process issued by 
proper authority of the said county of Cumberland: Provided always. 
That the sheriff of Perry County be allowed out of the county stock of 
said county, ten cents per mile as a full compensation for every person 
charged with a criminal offense which he may deliver to the jail of Cum- 
berland County by virtue of this act, on orders drawn by the commis- 
sioners of Perry County on the treasury thereof. 

Sec. 17. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the 
sheriff, jailor and prison keeper of the county of Cumberland shall receive 
all prisoners as aforesaid, and shall provide for .them, according to law, 
and shall be entitled to the fees for keeping them, and also to such allow- 
ance as is by law directed for the maintenance of prisoners in similar 
cases, which allowance shall be defrayed and paid by the commissioners 
of the county of Perry out of the county stock. 

Sec. 18. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid. That the 

sixteenth and seventeenth sections of this act shall be and continue in 


force for the term of three years, or until the commissioners of Perry 
County shall have certified to the court, that a jail is erected and ready 
for the reception of prisoners and approved of by the court and grand 
jury, who shall enter their approbation, signed by them, on the record of 
said court; and from thenceforth it shall be lawful for the sheriff of 
Perry County, to receive all and every person or persons who may then be 
confined in the jail of Cumberland County, in pursuance of this act, and 
convey them to the jail of Perry County, and to keep them in custody 
until they be discharged by due course of law. 

Sec. 19. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the 
poorhouse establishment, which will be included in the county of Perry, 
shall be and continue to be conducted as heretofore for the term of four 
years, from and after the passage of this act, and at the expiration of the 
said four years, the commissioners of Cumberland County shall remove 
their paupers into their own county. 

(Passed March 22, 1820. Recorded in Penna. Laws, No. XVIII, 
p. 11.) 

The northern bonndary of the new county, described as "thence 
along the Mifflin County line," refers to the present Juniata 
County line, as Juniata had not then yet been taken from Mifflin 
and made a separate county. 

When Cumberland County was erected in 1750, the eastern 
boundary line was made specific, as Cumberland's lands were to 
lie "to the westward of the Susquehanna." Whether that was the 
intention of those who drew the act or not will never be known, 
but when Perry County's territory was taken from Cumberland, 
it inherited that boundary line. This line has never been changed 
by man, save that by two special acts of the Pennsylvania Legisla- 
ture, islands in the Susquehanna River have become a part of 
Perry. The Act of March 7, 1856, detached from Upper Paxton 
Township, Dauphin County, an island "by the name of Crow's 
Island, to be attached to and hereafter become a part of Perry 
County." The Act of March 21, 1868, detached from Middle 
Paxton Township, Dauphin County, and annexed to Perm Town- 
ship, Perry County, the island below Duncannon, known as Wis- 
ter's Island. Just where the county line would be drawn at these 
two points has never been determined. 

The northern line, as stated in the act erecting Perry County, 
starts at the Susquehanna at the line of Mifflin County (now the 
southern line of Juniata County), "thence along the Mifflin County 
line to the summit of the Tuscarora Mountain." The act creating 
Mifflin County designated the southern boundary thus : "Begin- 
ning at the Susquehanna River where the Turkey Hill extends to 
said river; thence along said hill to Juniata, where it cuts Tusca- 
rora Mountain, thence along the summit of said mountain to the 
line of Franklin County." Consequently, on Turkey Hill, the 
ridge which lies between Liverpool and Greenwood Townships of 
Perry County and Susquehanna and Greenwood Townships of 


Juniata County, is the county line of that part of the county lying 
east of the Juniata. To residents of that section of the county 
"Turkey Hill" is known as Turkey Ridge, and the first valley north 
of it (in Juniata Count}) is known as Turkey Valley. 

An act of the Pennsylvania Legislature, December 23, 1824, 
authorized the appointment of John Harper, of Cumberland 
County ; John Cox, of Franklin County, and Robert Clark, of 
Perry County, to run the. line dividing Cumberland and Perry. 

Perry County had been erected for fourteen years before the 
northern boundary line was run by surveyors. An act of the 
Pennsylvania Legislature of April 14, 1834, authorized its survey, 
and David Hough, of Mifflin County; Samuel Wallick, of Juniata 
County, and Jason W. Eby, of Cumberland County, were ap- 
pointed commissioners to conduct it. They were required to run 
the line before June 15, 1834. They were to make duplicate drafts 
of the survey, inserting the courses and distances "in words, at 
length," and to furnish a copy to the prothonotary of each county, 
to be "thereafter considered a public record." Evidently their 
task was not entirely completed until the time limit, yet the fifth 
section of an act of April 4, 1835, ratified it and declared it to be 
of the same effect as if finished at the appointed time. According 
to records Jason W. Eby did not act, the other commissioners 
running the line. In all probability the line then designated did 
not meet with the approval of all, for on April 2, i860, an act 
was passed by the legislature to rerun that part of the line located 
west of the Juniata river. James Woods and Mitchell Patton, of 
Perry County, and George W. Jacobs, of Juniata County, were 
appointed commissioners for that purpose. The line was to be 
located by September I, i860, and was to be marked "upon the 
ground, by distinct and permanent marks, wherever and as often 
as the said division line crosses any public road or highway and 
at other convenient distances, on the aforesaid line." Like the 
previous commissioners, they were instructed to make duplicate 
drafts, but with the specific provision that they were to be "with 
courses and distances plainly laid down, with reference to the im- 
provements through which said line may pass, one of which they 
shall deposit in each of the prothonotary's offices of the aforesaid 
counties, as soon thereafter as practical, which shall be considered 
as a public record." The courses and distances are merely statis- 
tical and are not considered of enough importance to reproduce 
here. They may be referred to at the courthouse in either Perry 
or Juniata Counties. The survey of i860 differed little from that 
of 1834. 

The western county line was the original line between the an- 
cient township of Fannett and Toboyne, Cumberland County. 
Fannett became a part of Franklin County and Toboyne, a part of 


Perry County. This old line sufficed until [841, when, on April 
28, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed an act "for the purpose of 
running and marking the lines between Franklin and Perry Coun- 
ties." Abraham S. McKinney, of Cumberland Comity; John 
Johnston, of Terry Comity, and Andrew Wilson, of Franklin 
Comity, were appointed commissioners to run the line. To them 
was left little but the actual surveying, as the language of the act 
commanded them to leave the entire Amberson Valley in Franklin 
County, and the entire Sherman's Valley in Ferry County. The line 
was to start "at the corner of Cumberland and Franklin Counties, 
on the top of the Blue Mountain ; thence by a line in the direc- 
tion of Concord, to the summit of the next mountain ; thence along 
the summit of said mountain as far as practicable, so as to leave 
the entire valley of Amberson, in the county of Franklin, and to 
divide the mountain territory as equally as possible between the 
two counties ; thence along the summit of the Round Top, to the 
most practicable point on the Conococheague Mountain, leaving 
the entire valley called Sherman's Valley, in the county of Perry ; 
and thence to the corner between Franklin, Perry and Juniata 
Counties; and said commissioners are required in all cases (in 
running said division line), to keep as near possible to the sum- 
mit of said mountains." A year's time was allotted in which to 
complete the task and triplicate copies of the survey made, one 
each for the offices of the prothonotary of Perry and Franklin 
Counties and a third for the office of the surveyor general. This 
survey was a complicated affair to tackle, as anyone familiar with 
the various laps of the mountains there can readily realize. 

There is a legend that at the northeastern corner of Perry 
County, in the river, there is a rock which is supposed to be the 
corner stone of five counties : Northumberland, Dauphin, Perry, 
Juniata, and Snyder. This is another of those local legends 
which is not borne out by facts. The fact is that but three, 
Dauphin, Perry, and Juniata Counties, meet at the river shore at 
that point. Juniata has a short stretch of river frontage, which 
bars Snyder from touching, and the Dauphin-Northumberland 
line would touch the shore considerably below the Perry-Juniata 
line. A similar legend, relating to the northwestern boundary, 
would have four counties, Perry, Juniata, Huntingdon, and Frank- 
lin, centre at a common corner. Save that of Huntingdon, the 
other three do meet there. 

When Perry County was formed Landisburg was designated 
as the temporary county seat, pending the selection of a permanent 
site, and its residents immediately, as noted elsewhere, began a 
campaign to secure that advantage permanently. During the time 
the town was the county seat, the courts were held in a log build- 
ing, located at the northwest corner of Carlisle and Water Streets. 


It was unfinished, "chunked and daubed." The entire first floor 
was occupied by the court room, while the second floor was di- 
vided by board partitions into an office for the county commis- 
sioners, a room for the grand jury and a room for the traverse 
jury. The entrance to the second story was by a rude open stair- 
way from the court room. The judge's "bench" was made of un- 
planed boards and was located on a raised platform at the north- 
ern end of the room. At its front was a shelf, the top of which 
was used to write upon or for placing documents, etc. The coun- 
sel table was an ordinary pine dinner table. The clerks' desks 
were very ordinary wooden affairs and the seats in the court room 
ordinary board benches. A small one-story dwelling adjoined it 
on the west, on Water Street, in which lived a tanner by the name 
of Allen Nesbit, whose small tanyard was located on the same lot. 
He rented the building to the new county for fifty dollars a year. 
With the exception of the commissioners' office the other county 
offices were located in the homes of the officials. The first sheriff, 
Daniel Stambaugh, and also his successor, Jesse Miller, had the 
office in the house located on the northeast corner of Centre Square, 
the first sheriff dying there during his term. The house is now 
owned by the S. P. Lightner estate. Mrs. Lightner occupying the 

The register and recorder's office was located on Water Street, 
in a stone house belonging to Mrs. Robert Shuman at this time. 
This building had once been a hotel operated by W. P. West. Its 
erection was started in 1794 and it was completed in 1809. The 
rear part, or addition, was built of logs and in it at one time was 
a factory in which nails were made by hand, machine-made nails 
being then unknown. 

The prothonotary's office was located in the parlor of the Pat- 
terson brick building, on Carlisle Street, until 1826, when removed 
to the new courthouse at New Bloomfield. William B. Mitchell 
was the prothonotary. This lot was bought December 11, 1811, 
by Jacob Fritz and sold to Samuel Anderson, who built the brick 
building. After 1826 it passed to Henry Fetter, who was a mer- 
chant there for years. 

John Topley, Sr., was the court crier. Court was called by small 
boys ringing a bell along the street. Until each obtained a church 
building of its own the court room was the place of worship of 
the Presbyterian and Methodist congregations. When the court- 
bouse at New Bloomfield was completed and the county seat re- 
moved the old courthouse became the property of Robert Gibson, 
who used it for a cabinet maker's shop until 1840, when he razed 
it and built the present building, which is now owned by D. B. 


The first court of common pleas ever held in Perry County 
was convened in Landisburg on December 4, 1820. John Reed, 
originally of Westmoreland County, was the president judge, and 
William Anderson and Jeremiah Madden were the associate 
judges. David Stambaugh was sheriff. The first grand jurors 
were William English, Henry Bellin, William Brown, Jacob Weib- 
ley, and Joshua Jones, of Juniata Township ; Andrew Linn, Peter 
Moses, Philip Fosselman, Christian Simons, Henry Hippie, 
Thomas Kennedy, and John Eaton, of Tyrone Township; Con- 
rad Rice, John Milligan, Thomas Milligan, Moses Oatley, Jacob 
Burd, and Jacob Keiser, of Saville Township ; William Arbigast, 
of Greenwood Township ; William Potter, of Buffalo Township ; 
Samuel Willis, of Rye Township; Nicholas Burd, John Kogan, 
and Daniel Motzer, of Toboyne Township. 

The first traverse jurors were George Beard, John Linn, John 
Staily, Josiah Roddy, Jacob Reiber, George Arnold, Charles El- 
liott, John Moses, Peter Baker, John Elliott, John Holland, Robin- 
son Black, Samuel Linn, Andrew Mateer, Thomas Black, Nicholas 
Ickes, Frederick Peale, Samuel Grubb, John Purcell, Jushua 
North, Jr., Charles Wright, John Keiser, William McClure, Jr., 
Michael Horting, Benjamin Leas, Sr., Daniel Bloom, Owen 
Owen, Philip Deckard, John Hallopeter, John Snyder, John Rum- 
baugh, Jacob Dubbs, and Samuel Thompson. They were paid for 
five days, except Nicholas Ickes, who was present only four days, 
at the rate of $1.00 per day and twelve and one-half cents per 
mile, one way, and the total cost of this jury was $223.25. 

The constables at this time were: George Fetterman, Buffalo 
Township; John O'Brian, Greenwood Township; Thomas Mar- 
tin, Juniata Township; Daniel McAllister, Rye Township; Ma- 
thias Moyer, Saville Township; John Cree, Tyrone Township; 
Abraham Kistler, Tyrone Township, and James McKim, Toboyne 
Township. The grand jury were paid $1.00 per day and six cents 
per mile circular, and for two days, the total cost of the first grand 
jury having been $7348. The auditors were paid $2.00 per day, 
and the constables were paid $1.00 per day, but no mileage, for 
attending court. 

The first record of a conveyance was a recorded deed from 
Jacob Sole, of Juniata Township, to Elizabeth Sole, of Millers- 
town, dated March 11, 1820, for three acres of land in Juniata 
Township, the consideration being $1,00. The first mortgage re- 
corded was given by Samuel Stroop. of Tyrone Township to John 
Shuman, of Greenwood. The first proceedings in Orphans' Court 
was on December 4, 1820, when Caleb North, of Greenwood, was 
appointed guardian of Julia Power, minor daughter of James 
Power, late of Juniata Township. The first letters testamentary 
issued by the register of wills were those of Christian Seiders, of 


Buffalo Township, on December 7, 1820, his executors being David 
and Samuel Seiders, and his will dated November 26, 1820. The 
first will recorded was that (if Abraham Grassel, dated September 
26, 1819, letters not briny issued thereon until January 11, 1821. 


Our ul the first Board of County Commissioners. Mr. Mitchell 

was born in 1782 and was Commissioner at 38. He died in [872, 

over fifty years after the county's beginning. 

The second court was held on the last Monday of January, 1821, 
and there were nine suits on the trial list, one of them being Mel- 
choir Miller (the grandfather of the future governor of Minne- 
sota) against James Murphy. 

The first board of county commissioners was composed of Rob- 
ert Mitchell, Thomas Adams, and Jacob Huggins. 

The register and recorder's office was removed to New Bloom- 
held on March 6, 1827, and the prothonotary, treasurer's and 
sheriffs offices on March 12 and 13, 1827. The first court was 
held in New Bloomfield, April 2, 1827. 



The first justices of the peace of the new county were as fol- 
lows, the transcript being taken from the Executive Minutes: 

Friday, November 17, 1820. 
The governor this day appointed and commissioned the following named 
persons to the office of justice of the peace in and for the districts here- 
after mentioned in the county of Perry, that is to say : David Bloom, 
Robert Adams, and Jacob Bargstresser for the district composed of the 
township of Toboyne, in the said county, lately district number ten, in the 
county of Cumberland; Jacob Fritz, John Taylor, Jacob Stroop, William 
Power, and Henry Titzel for the district composed of the township of 
Tyrone, including the township of Saville, in the said county of Perry, 
lately district numbered eleven, in the county of Cumberland; John Ogle, 
John Owen, and John White, in and for the district composed of the town- 
ship of Rye, in the county of Perry, lately the district numbered twelve, 
in the county of Cumberland; George Monroe, Benjamin Bonsall, Fred- 
erick Orwan, and James Black in and for the township of Juniata, in the 
said county of Perry, lately the district numbered thirteen in the said 
county of Cumberland; Caleb North, John Huggins, John Purcell, Samuel 
Utter, John Turner, Abraham Adams, Willian Linton, and Richard Bard, 
in and for. the district composed of the township of Greenwood and Buf- 
faloe, in the said county of Perry, lately the district numbered fourteen, 
in the county of Cumberland. — Executive Mmutes, Volume Eleven, 
pa<je 254- 

Other justices of the peace commissioned during the county's 
very first years were as follows : 

1822. John Kooken, Toboyne; Robert Thompson, Buffalo; Francis 
Gibson, Tyrone ; Thomas Gallagher, Liverpool. 

1823. Andrew Linn and George Baker, Saville ; Frederick Speck, Wheat- 

1824. Joseph Martin, Juniata ; Alexander Rogers, Wheatfield ; George 
Mitchell, Liverpool. 

1825. Jacob Bloom and James R. Scott, Toboyne ; Alexander Branyan, 

Just why Perry County was so named has often been asked. 
Why was this name selected rather than some other? It will be 
remembered that the battle of Lake Erie was one of the greatest 
events of the War of 18 12, or our Second War with England, 
that Commodore Perry was the hero, and that the war was over 
but six years before the erection of the county. But the great out- 
standing reason was that Commodore Perry died on August 23, 
1 8 19, at the Port of Spain, Island of Trinidad, and the news of 
his death had just reached our shores in the year of the county's 
creation; and that his death, like that of Ex-President Theodore 
Roosevelt in 1919, was the occasion of much grief, the erection of 
memorials, etc. Not only was he honored by the naming of Perry 
County, Pennsylvania, in memory of him, but counties elsewhere 
are so named. There are Perry Counties in nine other states, 
as follows: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mis- 
sissippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee. 


And so it was named Perry — after Commodore Oliver Hazard 
Perry, who in 1812, as a young lieutenant, was sent to take charge 
of the fleet of boats on Lake Erie, who unfurled a blue flag bear- 
ing in white letters the dying words of the gallant Lawrence, 
"Don't give up the ship ;" who succeeded in overcoming the 
powerful British boats and sent to General Harrison the famous 
dispatch, "We have met the enemy and they are ours — two ships, 
two brigs, one schooner and one sloop;" and who saved the young 
nation from an enemy's entrance over the lakes. He was in 
charge of the whole West Indian fleet as commodore at the time of 
his death. 

A newspaper notice of the period, relating to the death of the 
hero for whom the new county of Perry was named, may not be 
inappropriate here : 

Norfolk, September 25. 

Died. On the 23 of August, on board the United States schooner, Non- 
such, at the moment of her arrival at Port of Spain, in the Island of 
Trinidad, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. He was taken with yellow 
fever on his passage from the town of Angostura, and although he was 
attended by two able physicians, he was reduced to the greatest extremity 
on the fourth day of his illness. Sensible to his approaching dissolution, 
he called his officers together, and communicated his last wishes. His re- 
mains were interred at Port of Spain, on the 24th of August with naval 
and military honors. 

Pennsylvania counties have been named under probably eight 
distinct classes, as follows : First, after English shires or counties ; 
second, from Indian derivation ; third, of sentimental suggestion ; 
fourth, geological, geographical or faunal titles; fifth, topographi- 
cally; sixth, of local historical connection; seventh, of political 
significance; eighth, in honor of patriots, etc. It is the last named 
and largest class which includes Perry. 

A story, in connection with the locating of the temporary county 
seat at Landisburg, which is persistent, coming from a dozen 
widely separated sources, and always the same, is, it is believed, 
worthy a place here. The reader may pass judgment upon it. On 
all occasions the scorner turns up, but when this one turned up 
Perry Countians were in no humor to be ridiculed, having just 
came into their own after the opposition of Carlisle citizens, espe- 
cially. The new county had just been created and the first court 
was to be held in an improvised courthouse in Landisburg. A 
number of young men from Carlisle came over and one of them 
kept up a continual interrogation, "Where's the town clock?" 
This angered a man named Power, and strangely enough Power 
was the next man to whom he put the question. A brawny arm 
shot out and the inquirer went down, but true to the species, he 
retorted, "There it is; it struck one." 



Strange as it may seem, within two years after the separation 
of Terry County from "Mother Cumberland," there were peti- 
tions out for their merging, and strangest of all, the plan advo- 
cated was to annex Cumberland to Perry. A copy of the petitions 
was printed in the Perry Forester, Perry County's first paper, on 
l'YI unary 7, 1822. It follows: 


"To the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of 
Pennsylvania, in General Assembly met. Sheweth: 

"That on account of the great dissatisfaction which prevails in the bor- 
ough of Carlisle, and the surrounding country, by reason that they have 
been separated from the county of Perry, and which has much increased 
our taxes, and not only this, but our once thrifty and flourishing old bor- 
ough of Carlisle, has become delirious and inconsolable on account of the 
separation — and further, as we would prefer the name of Perry to that of 
Cumberland, because the latter savors something of royalty, being taken 
from the Duke of Cumberland in England, which your petitioners deem to 
be repugnant to the principles of our republican government; we there- 
for pray your honorable bodies to pass a law annexing Cumberland to 
Perry County, and that the seat of Justice may be located at Landisburg. 

"And your petitioners in duty bound will pray, &c." 

When the new county of Perry was formed the keepers of tav- 
erns, as they were then known, were holding licenses granted by 
the Cumberland County court. Accordingly the first licenses 
granted in Perry County were in 1821. From the Divisions of 
Records at the State Capitol a copy of the return to the state is 
made. It follows: 

A list of the tavern keepers of Perry County to whom licenses have 
been granted by the Court of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace for 
said county, at January and April terms, 1821, and for which licenses have 
been delivered to William Power, Esqr., Treasurer of Perry County, viz : 

At January Sessions, 1821. 
David Pfautz, John Woodburn, George Eckerd, John Flurie, Henry 
Zimmerman, Anthony Brandt. 

At April Sessions, 1S21. 

Andrew Tressler, John Foose, Thomas Craighead, Jr., Michael Sypher, 
John Hippie. 

Henry Lightner, John Strawbridge, Gilbert Moon, Henry Long, John 
Dunkelberger, Thomas Paul. 

Christian Hippie, Peter Wolf, John Miller, Peter Musselman, Frederick 
Rinehart, Henry Landis, George Wilt. 

Benjamin Leas, James Baird, Peter Shively, John Snell, Daniel Gallatin, 
Jonathan Harmon. 

Frederick Smiley, George Billow, John Neiper, John Rice. 
County of Perry, S.S. 

I, Henry Miller, Esquire, Clerk of the Court of General Quarter Ses- 
sions of the Peace, held at Landisburg for the County of Perry, -do hereby 
certify that the within is a true statement of the tavern keepers of Perry 
County licensed by the Court at the January and April sessions, 1821, and 


that thirty-four licenses have accordinglj been delivered to William Power, 
F.sqr., Treasurer of Perry County. 

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and 
affixed the Seal of said Court this fifteenth day of May, 
(Seal) in the year of our Lord, one thousand, eight hundred and 

twenty-one. Henry Millkk, 

Clerk of the Quarter Sessions. 
To James Duncan Esq., Auditor 
General of the Commonwealth of 
I 'ennsylvania. 

The following is the first return from the new county of Perry 
tti the State Treasurer, being copied from the original document 
in the Bureau of Records at the State Capitol : 

Wm. Powers, Esq., Treasurer of Perry County in account with the State 

of Pennsylvania. 

Dr. With amount of eight licenses to retail foreign merchandise 
and liquors to the following persons, viz: to Robert H. 
McClelland, Henry Fetter, Abraham Fulweiler, George 
Tharp, Henry Walters, Philip Bosserman, Edward Purcell, 

Isaiah Clark, at fifteen dollars each cash $120.00 

With amount of ten licenses to retailers of foreign merchan- 
dise only to the following persons, viz: to Thomas Coch- 
ran, David Moreland, William Irwin, Nathan Van Fossen, 
Daniel Okeson, Thomas Gaulagher, John Rice. Anthony 
Black, Robert Welch, Peter Beaver, at ten dollars each, 

cash 100 . 00 

Cr. With treasurer's commission, $217.75, at five per cent, $10.88 
With amount paid constables for making returns of 
eighteen retailers of foreign merchandise and 
liquors at \2 l />z each 2.25 

$220 . 00 


Balance due stale $206.87 

Settled and entered at the Auditor General's office, 
December 14, 1821. 

First Records of tiik Commissioners' Office. 

*The first minute book of the commissioners of Perry County, which, 
according to the inside of the cover, cost $3.75, has the following inscribed 
on page t : 

" Landisburg , Oct. 26th, 1820. 
"Agreeably to previous arrangements Thomas Adams, Jacob 
Huggins & Robert Mitchell, Esquires, duly elected Commis- 
sioners for the County of Perry met at the house of Michael 
Sypher and after having taken and subscribed the oaths of 
office required by the Constitution and laws of the Common- 
wealth of Pennsylvania, 

lor the interesting data from this first minute book of the first Board 
of Count_\ Commissioners we are indebted to Walter W. Rice, attorney- 
at-law. New Bloomfield, Pa. 



"Appointed Jesse Miller Clerk to their Board for the term 
of one year and agreed to allow him Forty eight dollars pr. 

"Oct. 27th. 

"'Commissioners met. A full Board. 

"Agreed with Jacob Albert for him to make the necessary 
seals for the different county offices at seven dollars per seal 
to be delivered on or before the 1st of Dec. next. 

"Oct. 28th. 
"Commissioners met. A full Board. 

"Appointed William Power, Esqr., Treasurer for one year 
(commission 2 per cent for all monies by him rec'd and paid 
_ out according to law)." 

This old minute book further shows that, on Nov. 6 and 7, 1820, Messrs. 
Huggins and Mitchell, Commissioners, "attended at Carlisle for the pur- 
pose of obtaining the original assessments of 1820 to get them tran- 
scribed, and that, on Nov. 8, 1820, Mr. Mitchell, having obtained the said 
assessments together with a transcript of the Treasurer's book of Cum- 
berland County for the monies paid by the collectors of Perry County, 
returned to Landisburg and met Mr. Adams. These two met on the 9th, 
10th, nth and 12th of Nov., 1820, and on the 21st "a full Board" met and 
agreed with George Dunbar "for the making of a bench for the Judges 
of the Court & a counsel table." On Nov. 24th, 1820, the Board met for 
the purpose of "selecting jurors and comparing assessments." On that 
day the first order on the county treasury was granted to Robert Mitchell 
for $28.00 for pay as Commissioner from Oct. 26th, 1820, to Nov. 24th, 
1820. On Nov. 25th, 1820, the Commissioners bought of William Power 
"6 candlesticks & 3 pair snufiiers for $4.00," which were paid for by order 
No. 41 given on Feb. 2d, 182 1. On Dec. 4th, 1820, order No. 2 was given 
to James Beatty "for $26.90 pay of the election officers of Juniata District 
for holding 2 elections in 1820." In the first part of the minute book the 
words "order given" were used, but later on "O. G." indicates that pay- 
ment was ordered. On Dec. 5th, 1820, order No. 4 was given to David 
Grove, return judge for Toboyne Township, for $25.20 "pay of election 
officers of said District for holding 2 elections in 1820." On the same date 
an order was given to Alexander Magee, for $12.00 "for a transcribing 
docket to transfer suits from Cumberland County to Perry County." On 
Dec. 6th, 1820, orders for $20.00 and $26.00 were given to Thomas Adams 
and Jacob Huggins respectively for their pay as Commissioners from 
Oct. 26th, 1820, to Dec. 6th, 1820, "both days inclusive." These bills of 
the Commissioners evidently included their expenses, as no bills were 
presented for expenses. On Dec. 8th, 1820, orders were granted to Jacob 
Albert for $49.00 for seven seals for the county offices, George Dunbar 
for $9.00 for carpenter work and Andrew Martin $9.75 for making chairs. 
Robert McCoy was paid $50.00 for transcribing into a docket for the 
Court of Common Pleas of Perry County the record of the suits in the 
Cumberland County Court between persons residing in Perry County. 
On Jan. 30th, 1821, John Diven was paid $12.00 for making a jury wheel. 
and Alexander C. Martin was paid $2.58 "for the tuition of paupers as 
per acct." The witnesses were paid 50 cents per day and 3 cents per mile 
circular. An ink stand was bought from Samuel A. Anderson for 31 cents. 

On Feb. 2d, 1821, Abraham Fulweiler was paid $106.87 for stoves, pipes. 
etc., and William Power $6.45 for candlesticks, wood, etc. 

On Feb. 17th, 1821, the Commissioners met to lay the tax for 1821, and 
apportioning the rates on the different townships. Messrs. Huggins and 


Mitchell held appeals on April 16th, 1821, at Clark's Ferry, on the 17th 
at Montgomery's Ferry, on the 18th at Capt. Frederick Rinehart's for 
Greenwood Township, on the 19th at the Blue Ball for Juniata Township, 
and all three Commissioners held appeals on the 20th at Ickesburg for 
Saville Township, on the 21st at Zimmerman's tavern for Toboyne Town- 
ship, and on the 23d at their office for Tyrone Township. On the latter 
day they paid Robert Kelly, Teacher, $5.91 for tuition of paupers in Sa- 
ville Township. On the 24th they paid William Charters 20 cents for 
candles. On April 30th, 1821, they paid John Jones $12.00 for a wolf 
scalp, and on May 1st, they paid William B. Mitchell $0.75 for two old 
fox scalps. 

The records show that the office of tax collector was not a very de- 
sirable one in those days. Henry Kline, the Collector selected for Tyrone 
Township, refused to serve and paid a fine of $20.00. Robert Cree was 
then selected; he refused, and a suit was commenced against him for 
the fine. 

The County Commissioners in the first few years of the existence of the 
County received $1.50 per day, and their yearly compensation averaged 
about $107.00. The Commissioners now receive $1,000.00 and their ex- 
penses per year. 

The amounts of the tax duplicates and collectors for the year 1821 
were as follows : 

Daniel Motzer, Toboyne Township $1,200.26 

Henry Kline, Tyrone Township 1.575-89 

Nicholas Ickes, Saville Township 692.54 

Philip Bosserman, Juniata Township, 915.22 

Anthony Kimmel, Rye Township, 754-71 

Isaac Pfoutz, Greenwood Township, 863.99 

Henry Steaphen, Buffalo Township, 421 .25 

Total, $6,423 .86 

A total of the duplicates for the county in 1920 was $62,950.64. 

On Sept. 7, 1821, an order was given to Jacob Bishop, Keeper of the 
prison of Cumberland County, for $102.15 for maintaining 5 prisoners sent 
from Perry County. The daily charge was 20 cents. Among the items 
104 lbs. beef at 5 cents per lb. and 8 quarts of soap at 6% cents per quart. 
One of the prisoners made 45 pairs of shoes in 15 weeks, and a credit at 
the rate of 40 cents per pair was allowed for his labor. 

The election boards in those times consisted of 3 judges, 1 inspector and 
2 clerks. 

On Oct. 24, 1821, Jesse Miller was reappointed Clerk to the Commis- 
sioners and his salary was increased to $100.00 per annum. 

On Nov. 3d, 1821, $10.00 was paid for one year's rent for the office of 
the Commissioners. On Dec. 6, 1821, $51.50 was paid to Allen Nesbet 
for one year's rent for the Court House and 6 mos. interest on the first 
semi-annual payment. 

On Dec. 7, 1821, $27.00 was paid to William McClure, Deputy Attorney 
General, as his fees in 9 criminal cases. 

On Dec. 7, 1821, $5.00 was paid to John Albert for "a bell to call the 

On March 12th, 1827, the Commissioners held their last meeting in Lan- 
disburg and removed their offices to Bloomfield. 


IN the locating of its county seat Perry County had almost as 
much trouble as the United States had had just three decades 
before, when for a long period Trenton, New Jersey, and the 
present site were rivals; when, in 1789, the Commonwealth of 
Pennsylvania, in the United States Senate, offered to deed ten 
miles square around any one 
of seven towns, which in- 
cluded Harrisburg and Car- 
lisle, and when it was pro- 
posed to select a site on the 
Susquehanna instead of the 

In accordance with the pro- 
visions of the act creating the 
county Governor William 
Findlay was empowered to 
appoint a commission of 
three men from without the 
county to select a location for 
the county seat. This com- 
mission was appointed eight 
days later and was composed of William Beale, of Mifflin County ; 
David Maclay, of Franklin County, and Jacob Bucher, of Dauphin 
County. The following extract from the Executive Minutes, 
Volume 11, page 168, records the appointment: 

Thursday, March 30th, 1820. 

The Governor this day appointed and commissioned the following named 
persons to the offices annexed to their names, respectively, that is to say. 

William Beale of Mifflin County, David Maclay of Franklin County, and 
Jacob Bucher of Dauphin County, to be commissioners to fix upon a 
proper and convenient site for a Court house, prison, and County offices, 
within the County of Perry, as near the Centre thereof as circumstances 
will admit, having regard to the convenience of roads, territory, population 
and the accommodation of the people of the said County generally; and 
the said Commissioners, or a majority of them having viewed the relative 
advantages of the several situations contemplated by the people, were re- 
quired on or before the first day of September next by a written report 
under their hands or under the hands of a majority of them, to certify, 
describe and limit the site, or lot of land which they shall choose for the 
purpose aforesaid, and to transmit the said report to the Governor; and 
to do all other matters and things required of them in and by an act of 

courthouse; at new bloomfii-;i v d. 


the General Assembly, passed on the 22c! day of March last, entitled, "An 
Act erecting part of Cumberland County into a separate County to be 
called Perry." 

There have been many political fights in Perry County during 
the past century, but from what can be gleaned from old news- 
papers and records that county seat fight eclipsed them all. The 
many different locations proposed complicated the situation. 
Landisburg, with a taste of the dignity attached to the temporary 
seat of justice, put up a stiff fight. An old subscription list shows 
that the citizens obligated themselves for $1,610.00 to help secure 
it. Cedar Run (vicinity of Cisna's Run, Madison Township), 
then in Toboyne Township, raised the sum of $2,907.00. There 
was a provision that the plot to be used was to be that of Helfen- 
stine and Ury (now Wm. H. Loy's), who agreed to raise the 
amount to $5,000.00, on such condition. 

Casper Lupfer offered a free site on his "plantation" which was 
adjoining the present site of New Bloomfield, later owned by W. 
A. Sponsler, then John R. Adams, and now in the possession of 
Robert E. McPherson. Inhabitants of Millerstown and vicinity 
offered a site in Raccoon Valley, Tttscarora Township, opposite 
Millerstown, owned by Henry Lease. Other proposed locations 
were Clark's Ferry (now Duncannon), Reider's Ferry (now 
Newport), George Barnett's (the present site). Captain William 
Powers', west of New Bloomfield, Elliottsburg, and Douglas' 
place, near Green Park. 

Before the matter was finally decided and the present location 
selected there were four different commissions appointed to select 
a site. Public meetings were held at various places over the new 
county and petitions gotten out protesting against different sites 
and favoring others. The first commission, after examining the 
various sites offered, which required twelve days of their time, 
which shows that they covered it pretty thoroughly, decided on the 
site on the farm of William Powers, about two miles west of New 
Bloomfield. On the hack of the report are the signatures: David 
Maclay, W. Maclay, W r . Beale and J. Bucher. How "W. Maclay" 
came to have an interest in it records do not tell, but he was not 
on the original appointment. Their first meeting was in June, 
[820, and they made their report August 26, 1820. Millerstown 
held a meeting, December 2, and resolved "that the commission 
did its duty by locating it at the centre of the county." 

Hardly had the report been made public when Landisburg, on 
December 2, held a public meeting to protest. A resolution was 
passed opposing the site as a place "having no intersection of roads. 
110 direct intercourse with adjacent counties — a strong point with 
Landisburg — destitute of good water, good mills or even mill sites." 
Protests came from all over the new county. At the meeting 



of the next legislature many citizens of the county petitioned for 
another commission, which was granted by an act dated April 2, 
iSji. which required that the new commission should examine 
sites and report before June 1. This commission was composed of 
William Irwin, of Centre County; Isaac Kirk, of York County, 
and Christian Ley, of Lebanon County. 

At times a story has been told of William Powers and the com- 
mission digging a well and getting no water, of Lowers and his 
negro servant hauling water into the well and of the commission, 
"discouraged, resolving to stop work on the well." Nothing in 
any record, in any newspaper, or used by the opposition at the 
time would help to substantiate that story, and it is one of those 
mythical stories which sometimes gain considerable circulation, but 
which are unfounded and will not stand when scrutinized. Had 
such been the case the other points seeking the location would have 
grasped the information quickly and utilized it. Furthermore, the 
commission had neither the authority nor the time to go into the 
well-digging business. 

The following entry appears on Executive Minutes of the State, 

Volume 11, page 359: 

Saturday, April 28th, 1821. 

Under the authority contained in an Act of the General Assembly passed 
the second day of the present month, entitled, "A supplement to an Act 
entitled 'An Act erecting part of Cumberland County into a separate 
County to be called Perry,' " the Governor this day appointed William 
Irwin, of the County of Centre; Isaac Kirk, of the County of York, and 
Christian Ley, of the County of Lebanon, Esquires. Commissioners to re- 
view the scite lately determined upon by the Commissioners appointed in 
pursuance of the original act aforesaid, for the seat of justice of the 
County of Perry, and if they, or a majority of them shall be of opinion 
that the said scite does not combine the interests and advantages of the 
inhabitants of the said County generally, then, and in that case, they or a 
majority of them, are authorized and required to select and fix upon some 
other scite for a Court house, prison, and County offices, within the said 
County of Perry, as near the Centre thereof as circumstances will admit. — 
they, the said Commissioners to execute the said Commission according to 
the true intent and meaning of the above recited Act of Assembly, and of 
the ninth section of the Act to which the same is a supplement ; and to 
make a report to the Governor in writing, under their respective hands and 
seals, on or before the first day of June, next, certifying, describing and 
limiting the scite or lot of ground which shall have been chosen by them 
as aforesaid. 

Sites were proposed by a committee of one from each township, 
lint in the voting the result was as follows: Clark's Ferry (now 
Duncannon), 5; Barnett's, 2; Landisburg, 9; county poor 
farm, o. 

This second commission located the site at Reider's (now New- 
port ), which resulted in indignation meetings being held in the 
other sections of the county. The fact that it was seven miles 
from the centre of the county resulted in another lot of petitions 


to the Slate Legislature, which, at the next session, on March 11, 
[822, passed an act which created the third commission, the mem- 
bers of which were named in the act. 

On Friday, September 14, 1821, a meeting was held at the home 
of Captain William Powers to protest against the site at Reider's 
Ferry. The delegates to this meeting were: 

Buffalo. — Col. Robert Thompson, Frazer Montgomery. 

Juniata. — Wm. English, Finlaw McCown, John Kyser. 

Rye. — John Chisholm, Abraham Brunner. 

Saville. — Robert Hackett, Andrew Linn, Conrad Rice. 

Toboyne. — Wm. Anderson, Robert Adams, Col. John Urie. 

Tyrone. — Francis Gibson, Allen Nesbit, Wm. Wilson. 

This third commission was composed of Moses Rankin, of 
York; James Hindman, of Chester; Peter Frailey, of Schuylkill; 
David Fullerton, of Franklin, and James Agnew, of Bedford. 
They were to report before June 1, 1822. From Executive Min- 
utes, Volume 11, page 527, is reproduced their official notification 
from the chief executive: 

Wednesday, March 27th, 1822. 

A certified copy of the Act of the General Assembly passed the eleventh 
instant entitled "A supplement to an Act entitled 'An Act erecting part of 
Cumberland County into a separate County to be called Perry,' " was this 
day transmitted by mail to each of the Commissioners named therein, to 
wit : Moses Rankin, of York County ; James Hindman, of Chester 
County; Peter Frailey, of Schuylkill County; David Fullerton, of Frank- 
lin County, and James Agnew, of Bedford County; who were at the same 
time respectively notified that the Governor by virtue of the power in the 
said Act of Assembly given to him, has fixed upon the seventh day of 
May, and the Town of Landisburg, in the said County of Perry, as the 
time, and place of meeting of the said Commissioners. 

This commission — the third — decided upon Landisburg as the 
proper location. A few days later, on June 5, citizens from the 
five eastern townships held a meeting at the home of John Koch, 
which history tells us was at Blue Ball, Juniata Township, and ap- 
pointed a committee to draw up an address to the citizens of the 
county on the subject. Frazer Montgomery, John Harper, and 
William Waugh composed the committee, whose report recited at 
length reasons why the county seat should not be located at Lan- 
disburg, which was within three miles of the Cumberland County 
line, and protested the unjustness of the location to the county at 
large. On October 16, 1822, a meeting of the citizens of Juniata 
and Buffalo Townships was held at the home of Meredith Dar- 
lington to discuss the merits and demerits of the various proposed 
sites. Of this meeting there is some record; Francis McCowen 
was the chairman and William Power, Jr.. secretary. Resolutions 
were' passed proposing the site first selected on the Power farm, 
west of New Bloomfield. This site, we are told, is at the exact 
centre of the county. 


Thai weapon of every canst', the petition, was again brought into 
being and stated that three different commissions had been ap- 
pointed under acts of the Pennsylvania Legislature, the last com- 
mission having moved the location to Landisburg, a place which 
is within three miles of the Cumberland County line and a dis- 
tance of thirty-four miles from the eastern settlement. The •pro- 
posed place for its location on the Power farm is named as the 
admitted centre of territory and population as near as circum- 
stances will admit. 

On November 16, 1822, a public meeting of protest was held at 
the home of John Fritz, at the Bark tavern, in Rye Township (now 
Centre, near New Bloomfield), for the purpose of electing dele- 
gates and recommending or requesting the citizens of the other 
townships to do likewise, such delegates — two from each township 
— to meet at the home of John Fritz on December 10, 1822, to 
designate a place for the location of the county seat, and draft a 
petition accordingly. No record of the meeting is handed down to 
posterity, yet it evidently was held, for on December 23, 1822, 
Mr. Mitchell, a member of the legislature, presented to the House 
twenty-one petitions, signed by eight hundred of the inhabitants 
of the county, praying that the seat of justice for the new county 
be fixed at the point suggested by the first commission. The mem- 
ber of the General Assembly from Perry County at that time was 
not Mr. Mitchell, but F. M. Wadsworth, and again history fails 
to tell us why the petitions was not presented by him. The com- 
mission having fixed the site at Landisburg, as far as they were 
concerned, reported, and an act for the confirmation thereof came 
before the House on Monday, February 24, 1823, and after con- 
siderable discussion passed first reading. It came up on Tuesday 
for second reading, and a Mr. Todd proposed a substitute for the 
act, naming Barnett's farm instead of Landisburg. On a vote this 
proposition for the Barnett farm was defeated fifty-six to thirty. 
The bill was killed in the Senate by a proposition to create another 

The fourth commission was appointed by Governor Joseph 
Heister, in accordance with an act passed March 31, 1823, being 
composed of the following men : Joseph Huston, of Fayette ; Ab- 
ner Leacock, of Beaver; Cromwell Pearce, of Chester; Henry 
Sheete, of Montgomery, and Dr. Phineas Jenks, of Bucks. The 
first stated meeting of this commission was to be at the home of 
Meredith Darlington, on Wednesday, May 28, 1823, but the 
weather being stormy, they postponed business until Friday. On 
that day they met at Landisburg and decided to ignore all three 
of the sites previously chosen. Then, on Monday, June 2, 1823, 
they decided to locate the county seat on the farm of George Bar- 



nett, in Juniata (now Centre) Township, within about two miles 
of the Powers location, the one named by the first commission. 

They reported, and in January, 1824, the act was introduced in 
the legislature, when Jacob Huggins, then the member of the Gen- 
eral Assembly from Perry County, presented nine petitions for 
confirmation of this site and nine petitions for the site at Landis- 
burg. On February 5, 1824, he again presented petitions, which 
shows that those early Perry Countians had contracted the petition 
habit. On this occasion there were nine for the New Bloomfield 
(or Barnett) site and seven for Landisburg. On February 27 he 
presented seven for Landisburg and one for New Bloomfield. 
The matter had now narrowed down to the two sites and Mr. 
Huggins stated that he was privileged to withdraw the petitions 
of Abraham Reider and William Power. 

The report of this fourth commission is on record in the office 
of the custodian of public records at the State Capitol and is repro- 
duced below : 

To Joseph Hiester esquire Governor of the Commonwealth of Penna. 

Sir: In compliance with an Act of the Legislature of this State passed 
the 31st day of March, 1823, entitled An Act Supplementary to an Act 
entitled A Supplement to an Act entitled an act erecting a part of Cum- 
berland County into a separate County to be calld. Perry and in accord- 
ance with our appointment we the undersigned Commissioners wiz : Ab- 
ner Laycock, Cromwell Pearce, Henry Sheets and Phineas Jenks, having 
met (for the purpose of carrying the requisitions of the said act into ef- 
fect) at the house of Meredith Darlington in Juniata Township on the 
28th day of May and after taking the requisite oaths proceeded to view 
the several sites contemplated by the people as well as those fixed upon 
by former Commissioners. 

And from the view we have taken of the territorial bounds of said 
County, the relative situation of its inhabitants, convenience of roads, 
waters etc. we are of opinion that neither of the sites fixed upon by 
former Commissioners are calculated to combine the interests or render 
that satisfaction and accommodation to the Citizens of said County con- 
templated by the law under which we act. 

Therefore we have after due deliberation unanimously agreed, and 
have located a site for the seat of Justice of Perry County on the farm 
of George Barnett in Juniata Township described and bounded as follows, 
viz : Beginning at a Post in the field west of the barn South 68 degrees 
West 9 perches & two tenths from a wild Cherry tree then from said post 
South 64 degrees West 34.2 perches to a post thence North 26 degrees 
West 41 perches to a post thence North 64 degrees East 34.2 perches to a 
post thence South 26 degrees East 41 perches to the place of beginning, 
which lot or parcell of ground as above described we do hereby adjudge 
and confirm as far as our power extends as laid down by said act to be 
the proper site to erect the Court house, prison and County offices of said 
County of Perry upon, and as such make report and return the same to 
the Governor as we are by law directed. 

Given under our Hands this second day of June An dom 1823. 

A. Lacock. Henrv Scheetz. 

Cromwell Pearce. Phs. Jenks. 


Apropo of the local ion having been finally determined the fol- 
lowing documents, in the possession (if the Barnett sisters, of New 
Bloomfield, may be of interest: 

"30th of May, 1823. 

"Know all men by these presents, that I, George Barnett, of Jnniata 
township, in the county of Perry, do bind myself, my heirs, executors, or 
administrators to give as a donation for the use of Perry County, five 
acres of Land in Case the Seat of Justice be Located on my farm, but 
none of the principal springs to be included in said five acres, but is hereby 
Reserved for the use of the Town & I will also Give five acres of wood- 
land for the use of the County of Perry." Geo. Barxktt. 

Present, Jeremiah Madden. 

A copy of the original petition used in order to have the present 
location chosen is also reproduced, the signatures being omitted. 
It follows : 

"May, 1823. 

"To Joseph Huston & others, Esquires, Commissioners appointed by an 
act of the General Assembly passed the 31st day of March, one thousand, 
Eight Hundred and twenty three to fix and locate the Seat of Justice in 
Perry County. 

"The Petition of the Citizens of said County Humbly Sheweth, 

"Whereas the Seat of Justice has been located by three different set of 
Viewers in said County but not to the Satisfaction of a Majority of the 
Inhabitants of our County we therefore Humbly set fourth and Represent 
the Plantation of Mr. George Barnett in our County it being the most 
Centerable scite for the Seat of Justice accommodated with Roads from 
the four quarters of the County and a Variety of never failing springs in 
a wholesome Pleasant situation. We are of opinion had the seat of Jus- 
tice in our County been located on the above said Plantation by any of 
the former Viewers the Contest now would be at an end — and if fixed 
there now it would have the same Effect. 

"We therefore Pray to take the above into Consideration & your Peti- 
tioners will Ever Pray, &c." 

On April 12, 1824, George Barnett conveyed to the commission- 
ers of Perry County eight acres and one hundred and thirty-six 
perches of land which was selected as the county seat site by the 
commission appointed under the Act of March 31, 1823. The deed 
bears the date of April 12, 1824. 

A century has rolled around ; the gig, the phaeton and all of 
their kind have been superseded by the automobile for trips of any 
length and, after all the phases of the contest have been settled, 
the experience of a century shows that in the final conclusion 'twas 
well done, and to-day an automobile from one etid of the county 
can reach the seat of justice as quickly as from the other. 

In 1849 and again about 1886 movements were begun in efforts 
towards having the county seat removed to Newport, but with no 
success. The movement inaugurated in 1849 went so far as to 
have a bill introduced into the legislature changing the county seat, 
but it was reported negatively and died, and with it the attendant 
agitation. The later movement, while resulting in nothing in so 


far as the changing of the county seat was concerned, was the 
beginning of the movements which resulted in two railroads, the 
Perry County and the Newport & Sherman's Valley, being built 
into western Perry County. 

Three other near-by Pennsylvania counties, Mifflin, Adams, and 
Franklin, each had three commissions before the sites of their 
seats of justice were finally determined, but Terry County required 
the fourth. 

With the final conclusion of the locution of the seat of justice 
"on George Barnett's farm" the officials of the new county gol 
busy to comply with the sections of the act creating it, one ot 
which — Section "10 — authorized the county commissioners to ac- 
cept title to the site selected and to "assess, levy and collect money 
to build a courthouse and prison." As these matters could not be 
done in a short time the act — Section 16 — provided that "all pris- 
oners of Perry County shall be kept in the Cumberland County 
jail for the term of three years, or until the commissioners of 
Perry County shall have certified to the court that a jail is erected 
and approved by the court and grand jury." Then, on May 17, 
1824, the commissioners of the new county of Perry advertised 
that twenty-five lots on the public ground recently conveyed to the 
county by George Barnett would be sold at "public vendue" on 
Wednesday, June 23, 1824. By referring to the chapter in this 
book relating to "Bloomfield Borough, the County Seat," the 
reader may learn something of the sales of these first lots, also of 
the taking up of this plot of land by the pioneers. 

Three sales of lots were held to dispose of the lands donated by 
I *eorge Barnett to the county of Perry. The first was on June 23, 
[824, and Robert Elliott, Samuel Linn, and John Maxwell, the 
commissioners, sold lots to the value of $1,913, one-third of which 
was payable in cash on August 3d, and one-third annually for the 
two succeeding years. On September 14, 1826, a second sale was 
held by Robert Mitchell, Abraham Bower, and Abraham Adams, 
then commissioners, and lots disposed of to the amount of $594- 
The third sale was on June 28, 1828, when Abraham Bower, John 
' >wen, and George Mitchell, the board of commissioners, sold a 
single lot for the original price, $200, on which the former bidder 
had paid §$2 and then defaulted. Thus it will be seen that the 
county not only received the ground for its public buildings, but 
also $2,539.00 from the sales of lots. In addition $267.50 was 
subscribed and paid in cash into the treasury of the new county. 

The contract for the jail was first let. On July 7, 1824, the 
county commissioners, Robert Elliott, Samuel Linn, and John 
Maxwell, advertised for proposals for erecting a stone jail, the 
dimensions of which were to be 32x50 feet, two stories high, with 
walls two and one-half feet in thickness. The lower floor was to 



have four rooms and the tipper one six. John Rice was the con-' 
tractor, the cost to he $2,400. but its final cost proved to be $2,600. 
The few prisoners from the new county were transferred back 
from Cumberland on its completion. John Hippie was awarded 
the contract on October 1, 1827, to build a stone wall enclosing the 
jail yard at a cost of $950, which he completed the following year. 
This original jail, with slight alterations and improvements served 
the use of the county for the remainder of the century. On April 
4, 1902, bids were received for the erection of a new brick jail, 
not to be enclosed by the ancient high wall, in which was also to 
be the residence of the sheriff. Dean & Havens, contractors, re- 
ceived the contract at $26,000, but changes in the plans increased 
its cost to over $30,000. It was occupied January 1, 1903. It is 
modern in every respect, it is said, but not greatly needed in Perry 
County. On many occasions there have not been any prisoners 
within its walls, and the average population is less than two persons. 

At the election of 1824 Robert Mitchell and Abraham Bower 
succeeded John Maxwell and Robert Elliott on the board of com- 
missioners, the other member being Samuel Linn. On April 11, 
1825, they advertised that they would receive proposals until Au- 
gust 30th for the erection of a new brick courthouse, forty-five 
feet square. In September the contract was awarded to John 
Rice for $2,975, but later the height of the walls was increased 
and a cupola added to the contract. The building was completed 
in 1826 at a cost of $4,240. The courthouse then erected was in 
use until 1868, when the grand jury authorized the county com- 
missioners to make any alterations and additions that might be 
necessary for the increasing business of the county, then about to 
enter its second half-century of existence. It was considerably 
enlarged and modernized and including the cost of the clock tower 
cost a trifle over $25,000, the citizens of the town donating ap- 
proximately $300 towards purchasing the clock. While these 
alterations were being done the county offices were installed in the 
basement of the Presbyterian Church, and the sessions of court 
were held in the old Methodist Church on High Street. A new 
addition was erected in 1892 to the north end of the building at a 
cost of about $20,000. In it are the offices of the register and 
recorded and prothonotary, on the first floor, and the jury rooms 
and the law library on the second floor. 

The removal of the public documents from Landisburg to 
Bloomfield took place on March 12 and 13th, 1827. 


THE story of the settlement of Perry County territory is 
also the story of the first road westward over the Allegheny 
Mountains to the Ohio, which was then the "Far West." 
The travel on streams was by canoe, and on land, following the 
trails made by the Indians through the forests, first on foot, the 
original manner of travel; later on horseback, and with the ad- 
vent of roads, in carriages and wagons. These Indian trails were 
generally direct, reaching the gaps in the mountains and following 
streams, when the route was not too circuitous. The continual use 
of given routes, even afoot, soon created paths, which the Indians 
termed trails, and which often later became pack horse paths, then 
roads or highways, some even becoming main highways or turn- 
pikes. Some were narrow and never became utilized for vehicles, 
but were used by the pioneer circuit rider, who came after the In- 
dians had departed, and by the pioneers before roads became gen- 
eral. These were then known as bridle paths and some of them 
are yet distinguishable. One such is over the end of Bowers' 
Mountain, near Cisna's Run, and another around the foot of Mt. 
Dempsey, opposite Landisburg, in Sheaffer's Valley, and not far 
from Sherman's Creek. Both are known to the oldest residents 
of these localities from their earliest recollections. 

One of these old Indian trails led from New York State, south- 
west across Pennsylvania, to the Potomac, contiguous to Perry 
County soil, through present Juniata County. It was known as 
the Tuscarora Path, hence the names of two of the valleys through 
which it passed, Tuscarora and A////. Its proximity to the county 
territory is largely responsible for the seeming ease with which the 
Indian warriors reached here even from remote points to wield 
the tomahawk and scalping knife. 

The through trail to the West, as far as the Ohio, first known 
as the "Allegheny Path," led through Croghan's (now Sterrett's) 

♦In discussing the inception of this volume with Prof. H. H. Shenk, 
custodian of public records of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to 
whom we are indebted for many suggestions and much encouragement, he 
remarked that the history of roads and highways was very much neglected, 
a fact which has proven true, in so far as Perry County is concerned at 
least. An effort has been made to record the earlier roads with partial 
success. Following the first Indian trails in the province, roads or high- 
ways were laid out, the main ones being at first known as "The King's 
Highways," for the pioneers had not yet arrived at the point where free- 
dom was even considered. 



('..-i]). across what is now Perry County, over Tuscarora Mountain, 
through Shade Ciap, Black Log, Aughwiek, Frankstown. and Hol- 
lidaysburg, crossing the Allegheny Mountains at or near Kittan- 
ning Point. It was the great highway to the West and was used 
by George Croghan, Andrew Montour, Conrad Weiser and other 
traders, interpreters and government representatives as far back 
as records arc available. It was in general use by traders in 1740 
and succeeding years. It was then an old Indian trail and it was 
but natural for these men to use it. It became known as the 
"Traders' Path" and as "The Horseway." It descended in turn 
to the pioneers, but they were men of vision and soon regular 
roads were laid out and built. 

Watson's Annals tells of a Mrs. Murphy, who died at the age 
of 100, in 1803, and who remembered "that the first 'Indian track' 
to go westward was across Simpson's Ferry, four miles below 
Harris', then across the Conodoguinet at Middlesex, then up the 
Kittatinny Mountain across Croghan's -(Sterrett's) Gap, thence 
down the mountain and across Sherman's Creek at Gibson's, thence 
by Dick's Gap, thence by Sherman's Valley, by Concord, to the 
burnt cabins, thence to the west of the Allegheny." 

The route westward varied at points, or rather, at some places 
there were several routes, but this oldest of routes over Perry 
Count v's domain, was likely the main trail to which these other 
routes led. 

John Harris, who had been westward in 1748, left a diary which 
mentions the following points with intermediate distances: 

"From my ferry to George Croghan's, 5 miles; to Kittatinny Mountain, 
o; to Andrew Montour's, 5; to Tuscarora Hill, 9 (Conococheague, Moun- 
tain is intended) ; to *Thomas Mitchell's sleeping place, 3; to Tuscarora, 
14; to Cove Spring, 10; Shadow of Death, 8; Black Log, 3; 66 miles to 
this point." 

"Starting at Black Log, to Aughwiek, 6; Jack Armstrong's Narrows 
(so called from his being murdered there), 8; to Standing Stone (about 
14 feet high and 6 inches square), 10; total, 24 miles." 

The "standing stone" referred to is where Huntingdon is now 
located. There was a route from Croghan's via Robert Dun- 
ning's and McAllister's Gap, west of Perry County, to Path Val- 
ley, but six miles of it through the gap were at the bottom of a 
chasm, over a bed of stones and rocks, which the waters of ages 
had washed bare, and the descent into Path Valley was very steep 
and stony for an additional mile, so that the route over the Perry 

*Thomas Mitchell's sleeping place was in that part of Madison Town- 
ship known as Liberty Valley. It is mentioned by John Harris, in his 
table of distances from Harrisburg to Logstown, in 1754, and by Conrad 
Weiser. Mitchell was an Indian trader as early as 1848 and is supposed 
to have made a shelter at this point. 


County territory became the popular one. This old path, known as 
the Allegheny Path, the Traders' Path, etc., came through Cro- 
ghan's (now Sterrett's) Gap. followed the south side of Sherman's 
Creek to a point west of Gibson's Rock, where it crossed to the 
north, continuing westward to where Montour's Run joined the 
creek; from there it passed onward by Fort Robinson, crossing 
the Conococheague Mountain's end near the present Sandy Hill 
road, past Thomas Mitchell's sleeping place (the old Meminger 
place), in Liberty Valley, via Bigham's Gap to the Tuscarora Val- 
ley. A tradition has the path crossing the Conococheague at a 
point between Andersonburg and Blain, but the late Prof. J. R. 
Flickinger, himself a resident of the immediate vicinity, wrote "it 
seems improbable that a crossing so difficult would be selected, 
when nature had provided an easier passage at a point almost as 
direct." The sleeping places mentioned at various places were 
usually either hollow logs, bark or sapling huts or abandoned In- 
dian shacks, and no record remains as to the nature of the "Thomas 
Mitchell sleeping place." It likely took its name from the fact that 
he either improvised it or that he was the first one known to use it. 
A deed on record in the Perry County courhouse. executed in 
181 1, mentions the Meminger place as the location of "Mitchell's 
Sleeping Place." Thomas Mitchell was an unlicensed trader in 
1747. and in the minutes of the Provincial Counsel for November 
15, 1753, is mentioned as a man of no character. Authorities 
differ as to the route, as the following paragraph shows. 

In describing this old Indian trail across the county Prof. A. L. 
Guss, the historian, says : "The path by way of Bigham's Gap is 
largely misunderstood. Liberty Valley was an impregnable thicket 
of laurel and spruce. No early trader or adventurer passed through 
it. It took much and hard labor to make a path through it. The 
west Tuscarora and the Conococheague Mountains form an anti- 
clinal axis, with Horse Valley scooped out of the crest. Just 
where they begin to separate the broadened mountain has ravines 
on each side, and it was along these ravines that the early path led 
over the mountains. The old 'traders' road' passed up a ravine 
north of Andersonburg and came down a ravine at Mohler's tan- 
nery, in Liberty Valley, and crossed directly over the depressed 
end of the Tuscarora Mountain by Bigham's Gap." 

It was contended by the province at the treaty of Albany in 
1754 and admitted by the Indians (the Six Nations) that "the road 
to Ohio is no new road ; it is an old, frequented road; the Shaw- 
nees and Delawares removed thither about thirty years ago from 
Pennsylvania, ever since which that road has been traveled by our 
traders at their invitation, and always with safety until within these 
few years." The reader will note that it was then already called 
an "old, frequented road." 


That the first official journey of a representative from the colo- 
nics bordering the Atlantic seaboard to the lands west of the Alle- 
ghenies — that mighty empire of the West — was made over this old 
Allegheny Path, through the territory now comprising Perry 
County, is an historical fact. That notable journey of Conrad 
Weiser at the instance of the English colonies in 1748 was the occa- 
sion. Of course there were other trails to the West, but this was 
at that time the principal one. "There were later three great In- 
dian paths from the East to the West through western Pennsyl- 
vania," says Thwaite's "Early Western Travels." "The southern 
led from Fort Cumberland, on the Potomac, westward through 
the valleys of Youghiogheny and Monongahela, to the forks of 
the Ohio, and was the route taken by Washington in 1753, later 
by Braddock's expedition, and was substantially the line of the 
great Cumberland National Road of the early Nineteenth Century. 
The central trail, passing through Carlisle, Shippensburg, and Bed- 
ford, over Laurel Mountain, through Fort Ligonier, over Chest- 
nut Ridge to *Shannopin's town, at the forks of the Ohio, was 
the most direct and became the basis of General Forbes' road and 
later the Pennsylvania wagon road to the Ohio. But the older, or 
Kittatinny Trail, was the oldest and most used by the Indian 
traders. It was this route that Conrad Weiser followed. From 
Croghan's (in East Pennsboro Township, Cumberland County) 
he passed over into the valley of Sherman's Creek (now in Perry 
County), crossing Sterrett's Gap and the Tuscarora Mountains via 
.Standing Stone (now Huntingdon). There was also a fourth 
trail, still farther north, by way of Sunbury and the West Branch 
to Venango." 

Of the place where the Kittatinny Trail, more generally known 
as the Allegheny Path, crossed the Allegheny Mountains, Jones, 
in his History of the Juniata Valley (1889) says: "It is still visible 
in some places where the ground was marshy, close to the run ; the 
path is at least twelve inches deep and the very stones along the 
road bear the marks of the iron-shod horses of the Indian traders." 
As late as 1796 Carlisle was an important point for the starting of 
pack horse trains for Pittsburgh and the Ohio region. 

There are records to show that this old Allegheny Trail was 
taken by the northern section of Liuet. Col. John Armstrong in 
his expedition against the Indians at Kittanning in 1756. They 
show that the expedition left Carlisle in August, Colonel Arm- 
strong being personally in charge, "going via Sherman's Valley." 
At Fort Shirley .additional recruits were received. 

*Shannopin's town was named after a chief of that name, who died in 
1749. It was situated on the Allegheny River where the present city of 
Pittsburgh stands. 


When the English and French rivalry for the possession of 
America came to its inevitable end — war — Conrad Weiser, an 
agent for the provincial government, was sent to the Ohio for the 
purpose of conciliating the Indians, as was the custom, with valu- 
able presents. At the same time his duties were not unlike those 
of a spy. He was to ascertain their strength, location, mood and 
prestige, and at the same time learn the objects of the French. 
With the party on this trip was a son of Benjamin Franklin, 
George Croghan, and Andrew Montour, and there is record of 
their using this route over Perry County soil. 

When there was pressing need of military operations against the 
French on the Ohio, in 1754, and ways and means were under 
consideration, there was no other highway ; and Governor Morris 
described it as "only a horseway through the woods and over the 
mountains, not passable with any carriage." Travel was not di- 
verted from this road or trail until a year later, 1755, when the 
southern route was made, over the Alleghenies via the route which 
is to-day known as the Lincoln Highway, in order to enable Brad- 
dock and his army to march against Fort Duquesne. In May of 
that year the province agreed to send three hundred men, in order 
to cut a wagon road from Fort Loudon, Franklin County, to join 
Braddock's Road near the "turkey foot," three miles from the 
forks of the Youghiogheny. 

In the introductory remarks in the chapter relating to churches, 
there is an account of a Presbyterian missionary, Rev. Charles 
Beatty, passing over this route in 1766. It was then only an In- 
dian trail over which the pioneers had entered the county's terri- 
tory. However, it became the first road to be laid out in the new 
purchase covered by the Albany treaty. In 1761 the Cumberland 
County court ordered it laid out as a public highway between Car- 
lisle and Sherman's Valley. Viewers appointed by the court rec- 
ommended that the road be opened "through the lands of Francis 
West (vicinity of the Gibson mill) and others, from Carlisle, 
across the mountain, and through Sherman's Valley, to Alexander 
Logan's, and from thence to the gap in the Tuscarora Mountain, 
leading to Aughwick and Juniata, as the nearest and best way 
from the head of Sherman's Valley to Carlisle." The removal of 
the timber was about all that was required in making a roadway in 
those days. 

This old Allegheny Path should be taken over in its entirely by 
the State Highway Department, if for no other reason than that 
it was the first roadway to the West, but another great reason is 
that a good road is needed, not only by the public but by the state, 
whose reserve — the Tuscarora Forest — it passes through. There 
are, only certain small links which need to be improved. From 
Carlisle to a locality known as Dromgold there is already a state 


mad. The stretches from Dromgold to Landisburg, from a mile 
wesl of Landisburg to Loysville, and from the Waggoner Mill 
bridge, via Fort Robinson, Kistler and Walsingham, to Honey 
Grove, in Juniata. County, is all that requires to be taken over. A 
fair road already exists over these stretches, but there is no reason 
why the entire old Allegheny Path should not be kept up at state 
expense. Representative Clark Bower introduced a bill to that 
effect in the legislature of 1920-21, but it failed. That bill should 
be introduced at each and every session until the great common- 
wealth, in a way, perpetuates the first great highway to the West. 
There were trails along the Juniata and Susquehanna Rivers, en- 
tering the county above Duncan's and Haldeman's Islands, the lat- 
ter going into the Susquehanna country and New York State and 
known as the Susquehanna Trail, and the former being of a local 
nature, as the traffic from Harris' Ferry westward preferred the 
more direct line across present Perry County, via Black Log and 
Aughwick. Hardy, in "The Wilderness Trail," says another traders' 
path north of the Juniata was joined by the Shamokin Path near 
what is now Mifflintown, and was crossed by the Tuscarora Path 
near present Port Royal, Pennsylvania. He also says: "One 
branch may have led directly up the river from the Shawnee towns 
on Big Island (now Haldeman Island), and on the mainland, oppo- 
site, at the mouth of the Juniata; if so the first stage may have 
been by canoes, as the river, from the island to what is now New- 
port, is hemmed in in some places by mountains." Tradition dif- 
fers from that statement and we are inclined to be with tradition 
in this case. The Indians had a fording, known as "Queenashawa- 
kee," where Clark's Run enters the Susquehanna in Duncannon 
Borough, and there was a trail from there through the hills via the 
old Dick's Gap Church, to below the present location of Newport, 
which was four miles shorter than the river route, and it was but 
natural for the Indian to take the shorter route. That there was a 
trail over this route is proven by the fact that the church was 
located along the old trail and that the first stage line likewise fol- 
lowed the trail. Furthermore, the average Indians hardly found 
canoes available for "through traffic." 

Further on in "The Wilderness Trail" is this reference to a 
branch of the Allegheny Path which connected with the Susque- 
hanna Trail : "Bishop Cameroff, who traveled along the east bank 
of the Susquehanna from Paxtang to Shamokin in the winter of 
1748, notes in his journal that after crossing to the north side of 
Wiconisco Creek, near its mouth, on January 12th, he came to a 
bouse a short distance beyond, where he halted. Here his host 
informed him that on the west bank of the Susquehanna, opposite 
to his home, 'began the great path to the Allegheny country, esti- 


mated to be three or four hundred miles distant.' This must have 
been in what is now Buffalo Township, Perry County." 

The inception of the first road to what is now Juniata and Mif- 
flin Counties dates to 1767, when a petition was presented to the 
Cumberland County court to open a road from Sherman's Valley 
to the ECishacoquillas Valley. In May, 1768, viewers reported in 
favor of "a carriage road from the Sherman's Valley road, be- 
ginning two and three-quarter miles from Croghan's (now Ster- 
rett's) Gap, running through Rye Township and across the Juniata 
River at the mouth of Sugar Run, into Fermanagh (now Green- 
wood) Township, and thence through the same and Derry Town- 
ship, up the north side of the Juniata into the Kishacoquillas Val- 
ley." This road was the first to be built into these two counties. 
There was also a petition during the same year for a road from 
Baskins' Ferry on the Susquehanna to Andrew Stephens' Ferry 
on the Juniata. 

At the January term of court in 1771 a petition was presented 
asking that a road be opened from James Gallagher's, on the 
Juniata River, to William Patterson's, thence to James Baskins' 
Ferry, on the Juniata River. At the April term of court of the 
same year the request of the petitioners was granted and it was 
ordered opened as a "bridle path." At the same term of court a 
petition was presented asking for a road from William Patterson's 
mill, on Cocolamus Creek, to Middle Creek. This was probably 
intended to extend to Middleburg, Snyder County, 

James Gallagher's was near where Thompsontown is now lo- 
cated, and William Patterson's at Cocolamus Creek, below Millers- 
town. Baskins' Ferry was at the north end of Duncannon. 

Then came the American Revolution and road building was 
farthest from the thoughts of men. Their whole thought was of 
liberty and the preservation of that freedom which had caused 
them to brave the dangers of crossing the sea. During the pro- 
vincial days when the proprietary government was in power slow 
progress was made with the building of roads, but when the change 
was made from province to colony improvements began. In 1787 
a commission was appointed to survey a road to connect the 
Frankstown branch of the Juniata with the Conemaugh at Johns- 
town. A year later it was contracted for, and in 1790 completed. 
Another Frankstown road was authorized in 1792, south of the 
previous one. In 1788, at the January term of the Cumberland 
County courts a road was recommended to be laid out from 
the Reed Ferry on the Susquehanna, to Boston Shade's mill, on 
Cocolamus Creek. There was an act passed April 13, 1791, which 
is known as the Improvement Act. It granted £300 for the im- 
provement of a road from the mouth of the Juniata to David Mil- 
ler's (now Millerstown) on the Juniata, through Dick's Gap. 


There was a road from Carlisle to Sunbury at a very early date. 
On February 3, 1794, William Long warranted 400 acres of land 
located in what is now Spring Township, which is described as 
"adjoining lands on the west this day granted to John Long, and 
on the north by lands now in the possession of John Caven, and 
to join the great road leading from Carlisle to Sunbury." This 
"great road" passed through Long's Gap over the Blue Mountain. 
It was originally a pack horse route or bridle path from the South 
to the Susquehanna River, thence along to Sunbury. 

In 1803, at the August term of court held at Carlisle, a petition 
was presented, requesting the erection of a bridge across Cocolamus 
Creek, on the post road from Harrisburg to Lewistown, near the 
junction of the creek with the Juniata River. This road was 
washed out by a flood, but its location was between the present 
road and the old canal bed, where the Patterson mill was located. 
Until recently there were traces of it. This old petition set forth 
that during winter this road was almost impassable, by reason of 
backwater from the river and ice blocking the fording. While it 
is here named as "the post-road" yet the fact remains that the 
Juniata Mail Stage Company did not begin operations until 1808, 
but the mails were carried over the route on horseback as early 
as 1798. 

When the first through route was made through the Juniata Val- 
ley to Pittsburgh, now known as the "Old State Road," it did not 
take the river route from Clark's Ferry to Newport, but followed 
the old Indian trail via Pine Grove, in what is now Miller Town- 
ship, where Woodburn's tavern, an old and well-known road house, 
was located. Later this part of the route was abandoned and it 
followed the river bank. 

In the fall of 1806 petitions favoring a turnpike along the Juni- 
ata were in circulation. On March 4, 1807, the State Legislature 
enacted a law to incorporate a company for building a turnpike 
from Harrisburg via Lewistown and Huntingdon, to Pittsburgh. 
This turnpike, which has been known by various names, frequently 
as the Allegheny pike, entered Perry County at the head of Dun- 
can's Island and ran west along the Juniata through Millerstown. 
For many years this was a turnpike, then it relapsed into the town- 
ship road class, and in 1889, the Johnstown flood year, the high 
water washed out a section of five miles in Watts Township, which 
remains vacated to this day, by an order of the Perry County 
court, the township claiming it as a too expensive piece of road 
to keep in order. As this route is now a part of the William Penn 
Highway an effort is under way to have the state rebuild it, which 
should be done. 

The first section, from Harrisburg west, was not built until 
[822, however. By an act of the Pennsylvania Legislature, dated 


in March, 1821, two turnpike companies were chartered, the Ilar- 
risburg & Millerstown Turnpike Company and the Millerstown & 
Lewistown Turnpike Company. The location of two of the toll- 
gates were at the Miller pottery, in Howe Township, and at a 
point above Millerstown, known as "the burnt house." The lower 
company in 1825 had as commissioners: George Mann, of Cum- 
berland County, and the following- Perry Countians: John Fry, 
Robert Clark. Cadwallader Jones, Peter Stingle, Robert Mitchell, 
John Rider, Francis Beelen, Joseph Power, Thomas Power, and 
Caleb North. Among" the fourteen commissioners of the Millers- 
town & Lewistown Company were James Freeland and Abram 
Addams. Mr. Addams, whose eldest daughter became the mother 
of Governor James A. Beaver, was an influential man in the com- 
munity and the new county and took a great interest in turnpike 
affairs. The turnpike was completed in 1825 and the subscription 
books opened at Millerstown. It was in use until 1857, when the 
county authorities took charge, the turnpike companies having 
abandoned it owing to the building of the canal and railroad, which 
took away the principal part of the traffic. 

The Harrisburg & Millerstown Turnpike Company, with a pike 
of twenty-six miles, had $25,000 individual subscriptions and a 
state grant of $40,000, and the Millerstown & Lewistown Turn- 
pike Company had $70,000 individual subscriptions and a grant 
of $39,500 from the state. Shares were $50, and the average cost 
per mile about $2,000. 

Before the advent of the canal and railroad the overland traffic 
was largely done with large covered wagons, known as Conestoga 
wagons, by reason of their being built at Lancaster, on the banks 
of the Conestoga. These wagons, usually with a tar can hanging 
beneath, had four-inch tires and were often drawn by six or 
eight horses or mules, with jingling bells attached to the names. 
Queerly enough the drivers of these wagons fastened the name 
upon a present-day tobacco product. They liked to smoke to while 
away the time, and at Pittsburgh there was a great demand for a 
cigar which would smoke for a long period. As the demand came 
from these drivers of Conestoga wagons a cigarmaker rolled a 
long cigar, which he could sell at a low price — four for a cent — 
and named it the "Conestoga." The product immediately became 
popular, but the word was too long and became Americanized as 
"stogies," and sometimes mistakenly called "tobies." To accom- 
modate these drivers and their teams, road houses sprang up along 
the turnpike at approximately every ten or twelve miles. There 
are records which tell of a dozen or more large Conestoga wagons, 
with six or eight horses each, waiting to be ferried at Clark's 
Ferry, the western end of which was then at Clark's Run, near the 


centre of present-day Duncannon. The ferry house, or road house, 
still stands and is occupied by Joseph Smith as a dwelling. 

As an example of what was done over the old mud roads, be- 
fore the building of the turnpikes, in 1817, twelve thousand wagons 
passed over the Allegheny Mountains to Baltimore and Philadel- 
phia, each with four or six horses., and carrying a load of from 
3,500 to 4,000 pounds. The cost from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia 
was $7 to $10 per hundredweight. About 1885 the rate over the 
Pennsylvania Railroad was three-fourths of a cent per mile for 
each ton, or about $2.60. 

When the turnpike was built through the county in the territory 
which now comprises Howe Township, one of the smallest town- 
ships in the county, inns or taverns were opened, known as Fahter's 
Falls tavern, Fetterman's tavern, and Red Hill tavern. The latter 
became a famous stopping place for the picturesque old Conestoga 
wagons on which the traffic of the new nation was largely trans- 
ported. It was later long in the possession of Alfred Wright. 
Fetterman's was in the building now owned by Heister Moretz, 
along the William Penn Highway (now under construction) where 
the roads join, and Fahter's Falls (later Juniata Falls) was later 
kept by John Patterson, and is now known as the Lewis Steckley 

The late Thomas H. Benton, in his "Thirty Years in the United 
States Senate," in discussing the establishment of the first national 
turnpikes, from the Atlantic seaboard to the Ohio, says: 

'The absolute necessity for a public highway from the Atlantic 
seaboard to the inland cities of the republic, which were fast 
springing into existence, in the great West, were so great that the 
Whigs had no difficulty in procuring the necessary appropriations 
for the survey, location and construction of a national road from 
tidewater at Philadelphia and Baltimore to the Ohio." 

An act of the Pennsylvania Legislature dated March 29, 181 3, 
authorized the appointment of commissioners "to make an arti- 
ficial road from Millerstown to the Franklin County line, to go 
through McKessonburg, and thence via Daniel Sprenkle's." 

The road from Perry County, over the mountains to Concord, 
Franklin County, was built in 1820. By reference to the chapter 
in this book entitled Postrider and Stagecoach, it will be seen that 
during the second year following. 1S22, the United States Gov- 
ernment established a mail route over this new highway, from 
Clark's Ferry (now Duncannon) to Concord. 

The McClure's Cap road was built in 1S2T. It connects Landis- 
burg (which was then the temporary county seat) with Newville, 
Cumberland County. The following bond, etc., is published here 
as of historical value and will show the names of the commissioners 
and bondsmen, etc., without further description. It follows: 


Know all men by these presents that we James W. Allen of Frandford 
township, Cumberland County and State of Pennsylvania and Benjamin 
Rice of Tyrone, Perry County and same State (Commissioners appointed 
by an Act of Assembly for improving the State for to lay out open and 
improve the road over the North mountain between Landisburg and Ncw- 
ville at McClures Gap, and Jacob Alter Esquire of West Pennsboro town- 
ship and James Laird Esquire of Frankford township in the County of 
Cumberland aforesaid, are held and firmly bound unto his Excellency Jos- 
eph Hiester Governor of Pennsylvania in the just and full Sum of Eight 
hundred Dollars money of the United States: To the which payment well 
and truly to be made to the Said Joseph Hiester or to his legal Attorney 
or Successor in office, we do hereby bind ourselves our heirs executors, 
or administrators jointly Severally, firmly by these presents: Sealed with 
out Seals and dated the fifteenth day of May, one thousand Eight hundred 
and twenty one. 

The CONDITION of the above obligation is Such that if the above 
bounden James W. Allen and Benjamin Rice as commissioners above 
Stated, Shall well and truly apply Such monies as may be put into their 
hands for the purpose of opening and improving Said Road agreeable to 
the intent and meaning of Said Law and Settle and adjust their accounts 
in manner therein directed, then the above obligation to be void, otherwise 
to remain in full force and virtue in Law. 

Signed and Sealed in 
presence of 
Paul L. Peirce James William Allen (Seal) 

John Dickson Benjamin Rice (Seal) 

William McCrea Jacob Alter (Seal) 

John Lefever James Laird (Seal) 

(Indorsed) 28th May 1821. The within bond, and Security are approved 
in open Court, by the judge thereof. John Reed 

James Armstrong 
Isa. Graham. 
Cumberland County Vs. 

I do Certify the above and foregoing to be a true Copy of 

the original as the Same remains filed of Record in the office 

of the Court of General Quarter Session of the Peace in and 

for Said County. 

In witness whereof I have hereunto Set my hand and the Seal of the 

Same Court at Carlisle the 28th May A. D. 1821. 

J McGinnis Jr. 

Clk C. Q. S. 
James Allen and Benjamin Rice Commissioners under the 71st Section 
of the twenty-sixth day of March 1821 have received credit in this Office 
for four hundred dollars the amount expended for the improvement for 
which money was appropriated in and by that Section. 
Auditor Generals James Duncan 

Office 27th Match, 1823. Auditor Genl. 

The road from the George Barnett farm, on which New Bloom- 
field is located, to Sterrett's Gap, was laid out in 1824. There was 
once a military road to the Canadian frontier projected which was 
to have crossed Perry County. From the Perry Forester of Sep- 
tember 14, 1826, we note the fact, as follows: "Major Long, of 
the engineer department, passed through Bloomfield, in this county, 


on Thursday last, engaged in the duty assigned to him by the 
United States Government, of viewing a national military road 
from Washington to a point on our northern frontier." 

The Act of April 14, 1827, appointed Solomon Bower, Jacob 
Stambaugh, Jr., and Robert Elliot, of Perry County, and Abra- 
ham Waggoner and John Hays, o£ Cumberland County, commis- 
sioners to lay out a state road from Landisburg to Carlisle, by way 
of Waggoner's Gap. The Perry Forester of May 24, 1827, tells 
of viewers having inspected the Waggoner Gap road and found it 
to have a grade of only four and one-half degrees, or one-half a 
degree less than the specifications, which fixes the time of the 
building of that road. In T829 Nicholas Ickes, J. Kibler, and Rob- 
ert Elliott, of Perry County, and William Wharton and Henry 
Hackett, of Mifflin County, were appointed commissioners to lo- 
cate a state road from Landisburg, by way of Ickesburg and Run 
Gap, to MifHintown. The State Legislature of 1826-27 provided 
for the opening of an additional state road via Long's Gap, which 
was built in 1828. 

During 1827 and 1829 the Pennsylvania Legislature authorized 
the opening of roads from Union County to Liverpool; from 
Innis, Huntingdon County, to Landisburg; from Lewistown to 
Shippensburg, via New Germantown and Three Square Hollow. 
The state road leading from a point opposite Harrisburg to 
Petersburg, now Duncannon, was opened in 1829. The commis- 
sion who viewed the route and located it was composed of John 
Clendenin, A. Wills, Alexander Branyan, R. T. Jacobs and Robert 
Clark. Even before its construction there was a very rough and 
stony way along the river, the last vestige of the old Indian trail. 
Prior to the opening of this state road the main travel was over 
the mountain, about two miles from the river, via Miller's Gap. 
By an act of the Pennsylvania Legislature, of April 19, 1844, 
John Wily, Robert Mitchell, Jesse Beaver, Thomas Cochran, and 
Michael Steever were appointed commissioners to lay out a state 
road from Reider's Ferry (now Newport) to the wot end oi Mil- 
lerstown bridge, by the nearest and best route between those points. 
When Carroll Township was laid out in 1843 part of the boundary 
was described as being "along the great road leading to Clark's 
Ferry," which shows it as a then important highway. Its route 
lay through Grier's Point and Wheatfield Township. 

An Act of February 14, 1845. authorized the Perry County 
commissioners to pay Jackson Township $250 to help build a road 
from McFarland's tannery to the Cumberland County line, its 
outlet in Cumberland County being at McCormick's Mill. 

The road across the Blue Mountains at Crane's Gap was for- 
merly a footpath. In 1848 the road was built, but it is now little 
used. About a mile farther west from Crane's Gap is a small gap 



known as Sharron's, after James Sharron, who warranted lands 
about I/69. There was once a road there also, but it was vacated 
many years ago. 

The Act of April 12, 1855, appointed Samuel O. Evans and 
William Cox, of Juniata County, and Jesse Beaver, of Perry, to 
lay out a road "from the turnpike gate east of Thompsontown, in 
Juniata County, down Pfoutz Valley to the bridge over the Cocola- 
mus Creek, in Perry County." An act fifteen days later, April 
27th, appointed John P. Thompson and John M. Jones, of Juniata 
County, and Lewis Gilfillen, of Perry County, to lay out a road 
"from a point on the public road leading from Dunn's Mill to Mif- 
llintuwn, at or near Hibbsfield, in the county of Juniata; thence 
from a point on road leading from Thompsontown to Liverpool, 
on lands of Christian Coffman, near the bridge over the Cocolamus 
Creek, in Perry County." 

At the April term of court in 1859 viewers were either appointed 
or reported in the laying out of thirty-four different roads. At 
the January term of 1861 there were thirty-three, with many at 
other courts during the intervening period and shortly before and 
thereafter, which would fix that as the period when the greatest 
road development occurred. 

An Act of March 6, 1873, required the county commissioners 
to appropriate $300 towards the erection of a bridge over the Big 
Buffalo Creek, on the road leading from the tanyard owned by 
Rev. J. J. Hamilton, to Elliottsburg, at Spriggle's fording. 

That part of the William Penn Highway directly opposite New- 
port occupies the old roadway which was often the cause of trou- 
ble. The original road led from Greenwood Township, over the 
turnpike across the hill, and by Red Hill Church, to Newport. An act 
of the legislature was passed March 21, 1865, authorizing the county 
commissioners to pay $500 to aid Howe Township in making a 
road recently laid out, from the east end of the Newport bridge 
to a point on the Harrisburg and Millerstown turnpike, at the foot 
of Buffalo Mountain. Another act, dated March 20, 1869, author- 
ized the county to pay $2,000 more towards the same road and to 
issue bonds for the amount. It named Lewis Gilfillen, Dr. J. E. 
Singer, and Isaac Wright as commissioners to build it. There 
was a provision that as soon as $3,500 was contributed the contract 
was to be let. Michael Hartzell evidently had the contract, as an 
act of April 24, 1873, required that the county commissioners pay 
him $1,865 0I moneys so appropriated. After the 1889 flood it 
was again impassable, but was finally rebuilt largely by the progres- 
sive business men of Newport. 

But one new state highway was granted by the Legislature of 
1 92.1 -22, and that was the one provided for in a bill introduced by 
Representative Clark M. Bower, of Perry County, providing for 


a new outlet from western Perry County. The present road, de- 
scending into Path Valley, has a very steep grade and is a danger- 
ous route, with the result that it was little traveled. The new 
route is really a very old one, long since abandoned. It was in use 
by the pioneers. It leaves Perry County by circling Big Round 
Top and drops into Franklin County by an easy grade to Burns' 
Valley and the iron bridge near Doyleshurg, where it joins route 
45 of the highway system. It opens up a route from Dry Run and 
Concord which saves forty miles on the trip to Harrisburg. It 
connects with the Lincoln Highway at Fort Loudon, and to the 
traveler from the Susquehanna and lower Juniata Valleys it means 
a saving of forty miles on a westward trip. It passes through the 
Tuscarora State Forest and through a mountainous section un- 
equaled in Pennsylvania for beauty. 

The reader can readily realize the discomforts of travel in those 
early days, yet they had no terrors for even a woman when she 
had the blood of the brave coursing her veins, as the following will 
show: Peter Hartman, an early settler, had married Elizabeth 
Oelwein, of Chester County, a relative of Gen. Anthony Wayne, 
and who had inherited the vigor and indomitable bravery of the 
Wayne family. In the summer of 1794, when her first child was 
but six months old, she started from Buffalo Mills (located in 
what is now Saville Township, Perry County) on horseback with 
the baby, and traveled 120 miles to see her relatives in Chester 
County, using bridle paths where there were no roads. Being a 
tactful woman she met with kindness all along the route. This was 
a most remarkable journey in that day and under those circum- 
stances. There are many Perry Countians of to-day who can be 
proud that they have coursing in their veins the same blood as 
that of that Revolutionary hero. General Anthony Wayne. 

In those pioneer days, Perry County territory, with the methods 
of travel then available, was as far from Philadelphia as the Mis- 
sissippi Valley is to-day, with our really wonderful and speedy 
railroad trains. In fact, a letter will now go from Philadelphia to 
Denver, Colorado, in the same length of time that was then re- 
quired to carry it from Philadelphia to Carlisle. 

There being only trails at first the horseback method was the 
only one available, even for the transportation of weighty products. 
Lack horses, each of which carried a burden of about two hun- 
dred pounds over the mountains, were usually in groups of fifteen, 
with two men in charge. In passing along hills and mountainsides 
the loads frequently came in contact with the ground. About t8oo, 
at Harris' Ferry. \'wq hundred horses were fed and rested during 
a single night, which shows the extensiveness of the traffic. 

With roads came that first vehicle, known as the "gig," and in 
use when the new county of Perry came into being. Then came 


the carriage, known as the "Dearborn," for milady, and to be suc- 
ceeded by all varieties of carriages and buggies clown to the fash- 
ionable "Jenny Lind," even to this day in use. Our century, how- 
ever, has brought the motor vehicle into popular use, and the auto- 
mobile is more common to-day than was the good carriage of forty 
wars ago. As early as 1906 there were but 48,000 in the entire 
United States, but to-day (1920) the total approximates almost 
6,000,000. In the interim the bicycle was a popular vehicle for 
personal trips, enjoyment and business from about 1890 until the 
advefit of the automobile, but its use is now chiefly confined to 
business trips of a few blocks. 

"Pack Saddle Path," known to all hunters as far back as they 
ran remember, starts at the lower end of Lew Run. in Tyrone 
Township, and crosses the Kittatinny Mountain to the Wagner 
farms in North Middleton Township, Cumberland County. Evi- 
dently this run should be called Lewis Run, as tradition says that 
a colored slave named Lewis is buried near the run. 

On March 24. 1851, an act of the Pennsylvania Legislature au- 
thorized the formation of the Millerstown, Andersonburg and 
New Germantown Plank Road Company. The capital was to have 
been $25 per share, and the number of shares 800. The road was 
to pass through Ickesburg. The commissioners named in the act 
were Samuel Black, Robert Elliott, Isaac Kinter, Wm. B. Ander- 
son, Thomas Boal, Andrew S human, W. Blair, James Milligan. 
Samuel Liggett, Simon Kell, James Irvin, Jacob Shnman, Kirk 
Haines, T. P. Cochran, Jacob Bixler, W. I. Jones, G. W. Parsons, 
Wm. Rice, Solomon Bower, and George Black. 

A plank road was once projected from a point upon the Penn- 
sylvania Railroad, via New Bloomfield, to New Germantown. By 
an act of the Pennsylvania Legislature, dated April 12, 185 1, the 
Sherman's Valley Plank Road Company was incorporated, with 
forty-three stockholders. Section 1 of the act reads : 

"Be it enacted, etc., That Henry Rice, George Stroop, James Macfar- 
land, Benjamin Mclntire, Jonas Ickes, David Lupfer, H. F. Topley, 
George Barnett, Sr., John Campbell, Conrad Roth. Jr., John R. McClintic. 
George B. Arnold, Finlaw McCown, Alex. B. Anderson, A. C. Kling, Wm. 
A. Sponsler, John A. Baker, John B. Topley, Samuel McKnight, C. W. 
Fisher, Lindley Fisher, John Charters, Joseph Bailey, James Black, Jacob 
Smith, Samuel Leiby, Joshua E. Singer, John W. Bosserman, John 
Demaree, John Beaver, Wm. T. Shively, Jesse L. Gaunt, George S. 
Hackett, Daniel Gannt, James F. McNeal, John Rice, David Adams, Joseph 
McClure, James Kay, John Ritter, John Tressler, Wm. B. Anderson, and 
Solomon Bower be and are hereby appointed commissioners to open books, 
receive subscriptions, and organize a company by the name and style of 
'The Sherman's Valley Plank Road Company,' with power to construct 
a plank road from such point on the Pennsylvania Railroad as a majority 
in value of the stockholders shall determine, through New Bloomfield, to 
New Germantown, Perry County, with all the authorities and subject to 


all the provisions and restrictions of the act regulating turnpike and plank 
road companies, passed the 26th day of January, 1849, and its supplements, 
excepting so much thereof relating to tolls as discriminates in favor of 
wheels of the width of four inches and upwards; and the said company 
shall have power to regulate their tolls within the limits prescribed by 
said act, without reference to the width of wheels in any case, and ex- 
cepting also such other portions of said act as may be inconsistent there- 

The capital stock was made 550 shares, the par value of which 
was $20. Privilege was given to use any roacl then in existence, 
save that twenty feet was to be left for the public use, free of toll 
as before, and the proportionate cost of the part used to be paid 
for. The road was never built. Many of the older people of the 
present generation well remember these men, some of whom lived 
until very recent years. 

Pennsylvania has long been noted for bad roads, but on May 31, 
191 1, a bill passed the Pennsylvania Legislature creating a State 
Highway Department, and since that time various bills have been 
passed for the rebuilding of the state highways, which have been 
taken over since the passage of the original act. The voters of 
Pennsylvania at an election in 1919 voted to bond the state for 
fifty millions to help construct roads. Through Perry County runs 
two great highways of the state system, the William Perm High- 
way and the Susquehanna Trail. As a part of this great expen- 
diture, during 1920 a contract was let by Lewis S. Sadler, chief 
of the State Highway Department, for the construction of 41,753 
feet of eighteen-foot road from the west end of Clark's Ferry 
bridge (in Dauphin County) to the line between Watts and Buf- 
falo Townships (in Perry County). The contract went to Mac- 
Arthur Bros. Company, of New York, at $481,784.55. It is built 
of one-course, reinforced concrete, and is almost eight miles in 
length, over six miles of which are in Perry County. The present 
governor, Wm. C. Sproul, was always interested in better high- 
ways, and while a member of the State Senate many years ago, 
fathered the "Sproul Good Roads Bill." He may be said to be 
the pioneer good roads enthusiast of Pennsylvania. 


WHEN the pioneers first delved into the forests of what is 
now the county of Perry and hewed from them their primi- 
tive homesteads which soon blossomed forth with vege- 
tables and grain, they, of necessity, had to cross the Blue Moun- 
tain to the Cumberland Valley to have their grain ground into 
Hour and meal. But that condition was short-lived, for at their 
very doors was the force of streams flowing away, which, if 
dammed, would drive the machinery of innumerable mills. Thus 
came the building of the first mill. The lands were not open to 
settlement until 1755. it will be remembered; and after Brad- 
dock's defeat in June of that year, the Indian uprising drove prac- 
tically all the settlers out of the territory until it was thought safe 
to return. The Roddy (Waggoner) mill was built either during 
the first year of settlement, 1755, or in 1762, the year of the re- 
turn of the pioneers, as it was taxed in 1763, while Perry was 
under the jurisdiction of Cumberland County. Its history is as 
interesting as the story of Paul Revere or other tale of province 
or colony with which all are familiar. When the war whoop of 
the wily red men resounded through the forest, the valuable mill- 
stones imported from France were taken from their places and 
sunk in the mill race until all danger had passed and it was safe 
for the family to return. 

The flouring mill was one of Pennsylvania's original manufac- 
turing industries and remains one of importance to this day. Dur- 
ing the growth of the Perry County territory there have been many 
mills erected, and until the advent of the steam mill this section 
had more mills than any other in Pennsylvania. There was a 
reason for this in the many water-power locations available, for 
be it remembered that Perry County has more springs and streams 
than any other, when its comparatively small extent is considered. 
Of some of these mills the history follows, or is contained in the 
chapters of the various townships, but as earlier records are few 
and far between, there will be omissions, of course. 

On a map published in 1791, when the first governor, Thomas 
Mifflin, was in office, no less than ten gristmills are located by 
name, and there are a number merely marked "mill." At the 
mouth of the Cocolamus Creek, in Greenwood Township, was 
Shade's mill, now the J. Keely Everhart mill. Above Duncan's 
Island, on the Susquehanna, is one designated as Vaux's mill, and 



at Berry's Falls (Mt. Patrick) a third. Along the entire length 
of Sherman's Creek there are four mills, three being merely 
marked "mill," and the fourth designated as West's, now known 
as the Gibson mill, and owned by S. V. Dunkelberger. On Fish- 
ing Creek Shortis' mill appears at the source, and Kincris' mill at 
its mouth, where Marysville is now located. On the Little Juniata 
two are marked, near its mouth, probably being the Duncannon 
mill and the old Haas mill. In the Cove one is also marked. At 
Buffalo Creek's headwaters Linn's mill is designated, and near 
"Buffaloe Hills" is Robinson's. At the mouth of the Little Buf- 
falo is English's mill, later known as M. B. Eshelman's, and now 
as the T. H. Butturf mill. 

As early as 1814 two townships in western Perry, not to men- 
tion the other large extent of the county, had twenty-eight grist- 
mills, Toboyne having ten and Tyrone eighteen. In 1792 the 
county territory had thirteen flour mills. When the county was 
erected, in 1820, there were forty-eight. 

There is record of Marcus Hillings, an early resident of Perry 
County, being authorized to erect a dam and mill at the mouth of 
Sherman's Creek, on September 15, I/84. While there is no rec- 
ord of its building, yet it was probably then already built, as the 
great ice flood in the winter of 1784 is recorded as having "swept 
away gristmill of Marcus Hidings, situated on Sherman's Creek, 
three-fourths of a mile from its mouth," according to the diary 
of Jacob Young, Sr. It either had been built prior to its authori- 
zation, as the year 1784 appears in both cases, or was under con- 
struction at the time, if Mr. Young's date is correct. The authori- 
zation date is from the public records. 

In those early days when roads were few and trails and bridle 
paths were the avenues of traffic, it was no uncommon thing to go 
to mill by horseback, the women frequently performing that duty 
while the husband and sons were carving farms from the forests. 
Many of these trips at first were ten to fifteen miles to the mill 
and back, and some much farther, tiresome journeys, indeed, espe- 
cially by bridle paths and with the probability of even meeting 
redskins on the way. 

At that period the mills were more or less of a rude and simple 
construction. A clumsy water wheel, with intermediate cogs put 
the machinery in motion. From a hopper the wheat was fed to 
the stones, where a rough bolting cloth separated the wheat from 
the bran. The present milling machinery is one of the most re- 
markable inventions and is in general use. 

The Waggoner Mill. Alexander Roddy was the builder of the 
first mill in the territory, upon the site of the present Waggoner 
mill, it having been long known as the Roddy mill. He first came 
to Tyrone Township from Chester County and located on what 


later became the Stambaugh farm and erected a cabin of poles 
near the spring at the picnic grounds of a generation ago. This 
was before 1754. the year of the treaty with the Indians for these 
lands, and he was accordingly driven out with other "squatters," 
in fact, tradition has him driven out several times. He evidently 
did not return to the Stambaugh tract, for as early as March, 1755, 
he is mentioned as an adjoiner of a warrant just east of this mill 
tract, lie did not warrant the mill tract though until May 13, 
1763. The previous year, 1762, was the time of the return of the 
great number of settlers to the territory, and it is likely that he 
built the mill that year, as it was already on the tax list of 1763. 
The Waggoner mill is located on Roddy's Run, between Centre 
and Loysville, in Madison Township, one and a half miles west of 
Loysville. The warrant calls for "one hundred and forty-three 
acres, including his improvements, and adjoining John Byards 
(Byers), George Robinson, Roger Clark, James Thorn and Wil- 
liam Officier, in Sherman's Valley." In research work it has been 
found that frequently settlers lived for years on a place before 
applying for a warrant. In the case of the adjoining James Thorn 
tract Provincial Secretary Peters attached a note, dated April 22, 
1763, which helps bear this out. It says: "The land for which 
this warrant is granted, having been settled upwards of nine years 
ago, the interest and quit rents is to commence from the 1st of 
March, 1754." 

In March, 1763, the stream is mentioned as the dividing line be- 
tween Tyrone and Toboyne Townships, upon the erection of the 
latter: "Alexander Roddy's mill run to be the line." As the mill 
race had to be constructed and as the dam originally covered 
twenty-three acres of ground, he evidently had been there long 
enough before this to dig the race and build the dam — a task of 
no mere days. The first mill, on the site of the present mill, was 
built of logs, but was torn down and replaced by the present one 
in 1812. There is a reliable family tradition that there was no mill 
yet in the Tuscarora Valley, now in Juniata County, and that 
women came alone to the mill on horseback by way of Bigham's 
Gap (Bealetown). After the erection of the first mill Indian up- 
risings were still occurring, and when conditions became alarming 
the millstones, even in those days imported from France, were re- 
moved from the mill and sunk in the mill race until the danger was 
over. Fort Robinson was less than a half mile to the west, and 
to this the owners fled for protection. 

The dam was washed out by the great flood of 18S9. At times 
when the dam has been cleaned as many as thirty bushels of fish 
have been captured, but those were the days when the game and 
fish laws were less drastic. There was also an old "up-and-down" 



sawmill and a clover mill here at one time, the clover mill still 

Alexander Roddy later located in Virginia, where he died he- 
fore 1786, a> at that date a property transaction refers to his tract 
as "the late Alexander Roddy's." His son, James Roddy, became 
the owner, and for some years it changed hands frequently. In 
1784 James More purchased it at sheriff's sale. In January, 1793, 
James Irvin bought it, but two months later sold it to Henry 
Richard. In 1804 David Showers purchased it, and the next deed 
is from the sheriff to Frederick Bryner, who erected the present 
mill in 1812. In 1816 he sold it to his son, Henry Bryner. At 
executor's sale in 1831, it passed to William Miller, who sold it 
to Jacob Weibley and John Weidman in 1837. 

On March 29. 1839, it was purchased by Benjamin Waggoner, 
and it is still in the ownership of the Waggoners. The new owner 
was an experienced mill man and came from a generation of mil- 
lers. His father, John Waggoner, as early as 1785 had purchased 
the Garwood stone mill, located in Kennedy's Valley, and in 1805 
had built the Snyder mill at Bridgeport (near Lahdisburg). Ben- 
jamin Waggoner's brother, John Waggoner, was the owner of the 
Patterson mill. Benjamin Waggoner operated the Waggoner mill 
until his death in 1850. In August, 1854, Moses Waggoner, a son, 
purchased it from the heirs and erected the commodious brick- 
dwelling house adjoining. He died in possession in 1876. 

The mill is now owned by W. H. Waggoner* (who has since 
died ) and his sister, Harriet B. Waggoner, who purchased it from 
the heirs. Mr. Waggoner can remember when the flour was 
packed in barrels and hauled to Baltimore to market. They are 
descendants of the original owner, Alexander Roddy, who was 
their great-grandfather and who was three times driven from the 
mill to seek protection at the fort at Robinson's. A brother John 
E. Waggoner, is a merchant and postmaster at Centre, to whom, 
as well as the owners, we are indebted for much information. As 
late as 1917 W. IT. Waggoner picked up an Indian skinning knife 
near tin- mill, and Indian arrow darts are frequently found. In 
1900 the mill was equipped as a roller mill and draws a large trade, 
even from points afar. The first mill dam was almost one-fourth 
mile farther up the stream. 

The Martin Mil!. That a gristmill was located in what is now 
Howe Township, then a part of Greenwood, before the Revolu- 
tion, is fully established by public records. That its location was 

*W. H. Waggoner died in 1921. He resided in the Great West for 
many years, being in the cattle business from Texas as far north as British 
Columbia. When the Indians still inhabited the West, train guards were 
employed, and for a time Mr. Waggoner filled that position on the Union 
Pacific. The death of his wife, leaving two motherless girls, one but a 
few months old, necessitated his return to Pennsylvania. 


at the creek wesl of the farm now or lately owned by Lewis Steck- 
lc\ . near the I lain Moretz place, between the William Penn 1 [igh- 
way and the river, is likewise established. While the work on this 
book was in progress, J. M. Martin, a prominent attorney of Min- 
neapolis, came East, and with Rev. Frank T. Bell, then the pastor 
of the Newport Methodist Episcopal Church, went to the tradi- 
tional location of this old gristmill, the property of their common 
ancestor, Samuel Martin, and still found a part of one side of the 
overgrown foundation, near the month of the run — then "Bright- 
well's Run" — and the spring near which stood the first stone house 
of his son Joseph, afterwards Captain. That the sawmill and 
gristmill were actually built is proven by the fact that they were 
devised by the will of Samuel Martin, dated August 23, 1769, to 
his son Joseph, being designated as "all the plantation which I 
bought from Robert Brightwell, with mills thereon, and all and 
every of the locations in Greenwood Township, etc." Samuel 
Martin also owned the property on the south side of the Juniata, 
on which many years later was located the old Caroline furnace, 
near Bailey Station. Historical records relate to all the properties, 
and for that reason are included in one description, under this 
head. The time of passing of this old mill is veiled in obscurity. 
That it was one of the first few mills within the limits of what is 
now Perry County is a fact. 

Samuel Martin, who located and built the mill, was a son of 
Joseph Martin, one of the first settlers of present Dauphin County 
(then a part of Lancaster), who located 300 acres of land at Pax- 
tang, now a suburb of Harrisburg, in 1738, part of which is now 
known as "Willowdale Farm" and owned by Mrs. Alice Motter 
Lescure, of Harrisburg. The brick house built there by Samuel 
Martin, the son, in 1760, is still standing. From there came 
Samuel Martin, who located, on November 18, 1768, by applica- 
tion No. 5263, 300 acres of land, "on the north side of the Juniata, 
adjoining Brightwell's Run and Buffalo Hill, including the im- 
provements bought of James Mahanna." Samuel Martin, how- 
ever, never resided here. The mills here were in charge of his 
son Joseph, later a captain in the Revolution. On the same day, 
this son, Joseph, made a like location of 300 acres, "on the north 
side of the Juniata, and including a run called Brightwell's Run, 
joining Samuel Martin, Cumberland County." Samuel also located 
200 acres at about the same time, on the south bank of the Juniata. 
This is the land on which the Caroline furnace was long after- 
wards built. Samuel Martin, by his will, dated August 23, 1769, 
proved in Lancaster County, June 6, 1770, devises to his son Jos- 
eph "the plantation I purchased of Robert Brightwell, in Green- 
wood Township, Cumberland County, and mills thereon, with all 
and every of the locations in Greenwood Township," and with one 


location on the south side of the Juniata, described as being "at the 
1 Ipper Falls, below the Great Bend in the Juniata." By the terms 
of Samuel Martin's will, the devise to Joseph of the two planta- 
tions or locations, together with "the Dam Stalion Colt, and his 
Saddle and Bridle, with a pair of oxen commonly called Duk and 
Brown, also a low Plantation Wagon," was coupled with the pro- 
vision that "my son Joseph shall pay the remaining part of the 
payment due unto John Bowman for the plantation willed and be- 
queathed unto my son John." The devise of the Bowman plan- 
tation is made to the son John on the condition that he "make no 
charge for any part or parcel of his work done by him to or mak- 
ing the mills on the plantation I purchased from Robert Bright- 
well, in Greenwood Township, Cumberland County," which shows 
that he was one of the actual builders of this primitive mill. 

Joseph Martin, evidently, to secure this charge upon his land, 
gave a mortgage to the executors of Samuel Martin, dated Janu- 
ary 24, 1771 (recorded in Book C-i, p. 141, at Carlisle), for 250 
pounds, 19 shillings and 4 pence, mortgaging 300 acres in Green- 
wood Township, "bounded by Juniata on the south, with gristmill 
thereon; also 200 acres in Dublin* Township (now Miller) on 
the south side of the Juniata, above the falls adjoining Dick's 

On March 26, 1776, Joseph Martin and wife, by deed, recorded 
in Book 1, page 101, in Carlisle, conveyed to Hugh Miller, eight 
acres with house, being a "divided fifth of forty acres, bounded 
west by land of Hugh Miller, north by Juniata River, east by 
Samuel Hutchinson, south by William Oliphant." This deed was 
not acknowledged, but proven September 4, 1789, by affidavit of 
Ann Martin (then Ann McCoy), formerly widow and relict of 
Joseph Martin, deceased. This hasty unacknowledged deed evi- 
dently furnished Joseph with the money to purchase his equipment 
for the Revolutionary War. While in the army, the mortgage was 
foreclosed (Carlisle records, D-i, p. 557), but 400 acres on the 

*The name Dublin Township, as recorded at Carlisle, is evidently an 
error of the transcriber, as the location became a part of Tyrone Town- 
ship in 1754, the very year of the purchase of the lands from the Indians. 
Then in 1766, when Rye Township was formed, it was within its borders, 
and when Miller Township was erected in 1852 it was within its confines. 
Dublin Township is located in Huntingdon County. The Evarts-Peck 
History of the Susquehanna and Juniata Valleys, page 731, says of it: 
"The formation of Dublin Township, in 1767, is so imperfectly defined as 
to the eastern limits that nothing can be determined by it. It was to 
bound 'Ayr and Fannett Townships on the one side.' but Lack Township 
is not mentioned, and there are no dividing lines as to Ayr or Lack. The 
first Dublin assessment, in 1768, shows no transfer of names from Lack. 
The only thing that places any part of Dublin east of Shade Mountain is 
that it was to join on Fannett, which lay on the other side of the Tusca- 
rora Mountain." That the Martin property is the one located in Miller 
Township, however, is certain, as the description "above the falls joining 
Dirk's Hill," implies. It is now in possession of Mrs. L- C. Zimmerman. 


north side with gristmill and improvements, was in 1787 deeded 
hack to the widow, then Ann McCoy, with remainder to the three 
children of Captain Joseph Martin, Samuel, Mary, and Joseph. 

The heirs, in attempting- to sell this land in November, 1805 
(deed recorded Carlisle, Q-l, p. 486), found it necessary in order 
to supply evidence of a lost deed, to take testimony in "Perpetuam 
Rei Memoriam." The record of this is in the docket of Cum- 
berland County, Pennsylvania, at Carlisle, for 1800 and 1803, 
and pertains to 100 acres of the tract on the north shore of the 
Juniata, purchased from Robert Brightwell, who had purchased 
from Frederick Stoner, and recites that the deed from St oner 
bore date between the year 1763 and 1767; "that the title to the 
same tract of land and possession of the same did come by diverse 
deeds of sale and devises to Joseph Martin, father of the peti- 
tioner (Samuel), that in the year IJJJ, the said Joseph Martin 
marched as a captain to serve a tour of militia, and that he died 
before his return; that the petitioner and all the children of said 
Joseph were then infants; that the said deed, during the infancy 
of the children of the said Joseph Martin, has been lost or mislaid, 
so that it can not now be found," etc. 

Capt. Joseph Martin,* after spending the winter at Valley 
Forge, was taken with camp fever, and started home, but "died 
before his return." His fate was never known. Whether he died 
in the wilderness, or according to a tradition, was captured by the 
British and died in a British "black hole," has never been known. 
His three children afterwards moved to Lewistown, Pennsylvania, 
where Samuel and Joseph became rivermen, engaged in transpor- 
tation by arks between Lewistown and Columbia, from 1800 to 

This old Martin location is historic in more ways than one. 
While Samuel Martin located this land on an application from the 
province, yet, in his will and in other legal papers it is spoken of 
by him as "having been purchased of Robert Brightwell." The 
fact is that a warrant and original order of survey were first ob- 
tained on April 30, 1765, by a certain Frederick Stoner, who sold 

*Captain Joseph Martin was the great-grandfather of Mr. J. M. Martin, 
of Minneapolis, and of the father of Rev. Bell, the pastor of the Newport 
Methodist Church, spoken of in the beginning of this sketch. The three 
generations named are noted historically in three different fields. Samuel 
Martin erected pioneer mills, almost at the beginning of settlement; Cap- 
tain Joseph Martin, of the next generation, became a martyr to the pa- 
triot cause, and Samuel and Joseph Martin, of the following generation, 
were pioneer rivermen in traffic when it was done with the ancient water 
craft known as arks. Captain Joseph Martin was married to Ann (Nancy) 
Baskins, of Duncan's Island, and his two sons, Samuel and Joseph, were 
born at the home of their grandparents there, while their father was a 
captain in the Continental Army. Their mother, by the way, was* a cousin 
of the grandmother of Alexander H. Stephens, notable as the Vice-Presi- 
dent of the Confederacy. 


and conveyed his interest to Robert Brightwell on March 17, 1768. 
After eight months it passed to Samuel Martin, it would appear, 
both by purchase of the previous right and by warrant from the 
province, thus assuring title. The improvements of James Ma- 
hanna are taken to refer to an improvement probably made by a 
squatter, who had no title to the lands. On January 2, 1880, it 
was conveyed by Samuel and Joseph Martin, two of the heirs of 
Captain Joseph, to James McGinnes, Sr. (the husband of their 
only sister Mary). He, in turn, sold to William and James Power, 
by agreement dated November 7, 1801, thirty-seven acres, at the 
western boundary, including the mills. On November 16, 1805, 
his executors gave the deed accordingly. The patent from the 
state for a part of this original tract was issued to John Patterson, 
August 19, 1803, of another portion to his son John, July 25, 
1863, and remained in his possession for many years. At its east- 
ern boundary the latter kept a famous road house in turnpike 
days, and there was located the post office known as Fahter Falls, 
and later as Juniata Falls. 

The Patterson Mill, near Miller st own. The first mill erected on 
the Cocolamus Creek, near its mouth, in Greenwood Township, 
was built by William Patterson. Jones' History of the Juniata 
Valley describes it as a "tub mill" and states that it was carried 
away by a flood. It was built prior to 1771, for in that year it is 
named as a point on the road leading from John Gallagher's to 
Baskins' Ferry. Shuman's mill, at the same point, was built be- 
fore 1805, for in that year John S human is assessed with a grist- 
and sawmill. John Shuman had come from Lancaster before 1800 
and, after building the mill, operated it until his death, in 1818. 
In that year Col. John Shuman, his son, bought it and 190 acres of 
land, for $9,000. In 1827 he sold the mill to George Shuman for 
$5,000. It then passed through the hands of George Maus, Syl- 
vester Bergstresser, and others. Its location is a half mile east 
of Millerstown, and it is now owned and operated by J. Keely 

The Rice Mill. While the Rice mill lays no claim to being the 
first mill to be erected in what is now Perry County, its history is 
over a century and a third in years and it is the oldest original mill 
building to remain standing in the county. It is located near Lan- 
dishurg, in Tyrone Township, on Montour Creek, near the Ken- 
nedy's Valley bridge. It was on this creek that the first authorized 
settler, Andrew Montour, from whom it takes its name, was lo- 
cated, the provincial authorities giving him permission so that he 
would see that no others would settle in the territory until such 
time as the lands were purchased from the Indians. In fact, he 
later warranted 143 acres, located between Landisburg, Mon- 
tour's Creek and Sherman's Creek, which in 1788 was surveyed 



to William Mitchell, and soon passed to Abraham Landis, who was 
the founder of Landisburg. In 1787 Landis had also warranted 
116 acres adjoining. 

( In this property the Rice mill was erected about 1786, as some 
of the machinery had stamped upon it the date, "1786." It was 
probably built by Shipper. Rhine, who operated it until 1795. It 
was then rented to Jacob Bigler, father of the two governors whose 
lives appear elsewhere in this book, and others. On June 25, 1813, 

Photo by Illick. 

The Oldest Mill Still Standing, but not the First Mill Built in the County, that 
Having Been the Roddy Mill, now Waggoner's, west of Loysville. 

Zachariah Rice purchased from George Stroop, who then owned 
it, twenty-five acres, being a part of the Abraham Landis tract, on 
which was a house erected partly of logs and partly of brick and 
a gristmill. 

The old mill stands there, the picture of antiquity, with much of 
its original machinery. On a post is painted "1786,'' and on the 
old scale beam were the words "Sbippen Rhine, 1789." Hanging 
against the' old mill is the original scales, first used when the mill 
began operations, the weights being stones, one of which is in 
possession of the author of this book, a gift from the owner while 
there seeking information. The weights were correct, the stones 
being of the same weight as those of the modern scales. The doors 
were hung with wooden hinges which are still doing duty. The 
seventh water wheel was beins: installed at the time of the writer's 


visit in 1919, the life of a wheel being about twenty-four years, 
according to information furnished by John A. Saucerman, the 
present proprietor. 

These old mills used burrs in the grinding of the grain and were 
not as speedy as modern roller equipment, yet a little incident 
banded down in the Rice family shows that even in that early 
period things were sometimes done with speed, although the facili- 
ties were crude. It was related to us by Mrs. A. K. Rice, whose 
husband was the proprietor until his death a few years ago, she in 
turn having received the information from the preceding genera- 
tion. Jeremiah Rice, of the second generation to own the mill, 
cut wheat in the morning with an old-fashioned cradle, the imple- 
ment in use in those days for that purpose ; threshed it with the 
flail, that crude and noisy implement which extracted the grain 
from the hulls; ground the wheat into flour in the Rice mill and 
turned it over to Katharine, his good wife, who baked bread of it 
and served fresh and warm to the hungry harvest hands for supper 
— the entire operation occurring between sunrise and sunset. 

Adjoining the old mill stands the old Rice distillery, now used 
as a storage room, in the basement of which appears the inscription, 
painted on a beam, "Last stilling, 1822." The brick house, located 
above the mill, along the stream, was erected in 1822. It is the 
equal of any summer residence to be found anywhere, and it is 
little wonder that the fifth generation of the Rice family is still in 
possession, the owner being John A. Saucerman, who is married 
to a daughter of A. K. Rice. 

There was a sawmill there built in 1842. The gristmill is used 
now only as a chopping mill. 

The Stokes Mill, Once the Blaine Mill The mill known to the 
present or recent generation as the Stokes mill was the one built 
l»v James Blaine as early as 1778, as it was assessed in that year, 
and later around it sprang up the settlement now called Blain, the 
final "e" being dropped. This James Blaine is the one and same 
man from whom sprang the famous Blaine family, which pro- 
duced the noted Commissary General of the Revolution, Ephraim 
Blaine, and at a later day a noted statesman and the candidate of 
the Republican party for President of the United States, James 
G. Blaine. The mill later must have come into the possession of 
lames S. Blaine, for on April 20, 1820, the very year of the organi- 
zation of Perry County, it passed to David Moreland. By inherit- 
ance it passed to his daughter. Diana Gitt, who was united in mar- 
riage to Anthony Black, to whom she transferred it on December 
20, 1830. On December 21, 1846, Anthony Black's administrator 
deeded it to Thomas, Wayne, and James Woods. They, in turn, 
sold it to Isaac Stokes on October 1, 1857. He owned it until 


April 1, 1905. at which time it was purchased from him by Wil- 
liam H. Book, the present owner and operator. It is equipped 
with rolls. 

This title is traced for the reason that there has existed a differ- 
ence of opinion as to who built the mill. Silas Wright, in his His- 
tory of Perry County (1873) crediting" William Douglas with its 
building, and Professor Flickinger, as a contributory editor of the 
Evarts-Peck History of the Susquehanna and Juniata Valleys 
1 [886), asking, "If Douglas built the mill, then where was the 
gristmill situated for which James Blaine was assessed in 1778?" 
Mr. Flickinger was a native of western Perry and long principal 
of the Central State Normal School at Lock Haven. He adds that 
Douglas was the first postmaster, the office being called Douglas' 
Mill. The fact is that the first post office was called Moreland's, 
being established in 1820, the very year of the county's erection, 
but in 1822, when the mail contract was let it was already known 
as Douglas' Mills. 

There is no record of Douglas locating or purchasing lands in 
that vicinity, and the mill is on the original James Blaine location. 
There is a probability that he was the lessee of the mill, probably 
for a long period, and that it came to be known as Douglas' Mill. 
Should there have been an office there before 1820 and Douglas the 
postmaster, then, evidently with Mr. Moreland's purchase in 1820, 
the name was changed to Moreland's, and in a very short time re- 
stored to Douglas' Mills. One fact is clear, and that is that Doug- 
las never owned the mill, else the records of the recorder of deeds 
are wrong. 

Up to the time of the ownership of Andrew Black the mill and 
the farm were always owned by one and the same party, but he 
sold the farm to James McNeal, who conducted a large tannery at 
the northern end of Blain, and the mill passed as previously stated. 

The Endslozv Mill. Before 1778, in which year it was already 
assessed in the name of James Miller, the Endslow mill was built 
in what was then Toboyne Township, but in that part of the town- 
ship which later became Jackson Township. Its location is one 
mile east of Blain. John Moreland, an uncle of the late David 
Moreland, of Blain, married Jane, the daughter of James Miller, 
and her patrimony was this mill and forty acres of land. In 1822 
it passed to James McNeal, whose son-in-law, Samuel Endslow, be- 
came the next owner, obtaining possession about 1840. In 1869 his 
son, William S. Endslow, became the owner and operated the mill 
until about 1908, when he retired from both milling and farming. 
About 1883 the mill, which was already the second one to occupy 
the site, was burned by incendiaries, and was rebuilt by Mr. Ends- 
low. Upon his retirement he sold both mill and farm to his son, 
George S. Endslow, now of Lancaster County, who still owns it 


but never operated it. The farm passed to Harry O. Hench. The 
mill still stands, though idle, a relic of a past pioneer industry- 
It was one of the earliest mills in the county. 

"Westoirr," The Gibson Mill. When William Penn came to 
.America on his second trip, about 1 700, a fellow passenger was; 
Francis West, who came from the family seat at Westover, Eng- 
land, and who, with his family, took up large tracts along Sher- 
man's Creek, as narrated in the chapter devoted to Spring Town- 
ship. His daughter, Ann West Gibson, who became the mother of 
that peerless dispenser of justice, Chief Justice John Bannister 
Gibson, warranted lands in 1787, and before 1779, when it was 
already assessed, had erected what she called the "Westover Mill," 

Photo by W. A. Eberly. 
This Mill was Built by Ann West Gibson, mother of Chief Justice Gibson. 

known generally as the Gibson mill, and which included a sawmill. 
It is located several hundred yards west of Gibson's Rock, a 
mighty profile jutting to the edge of the creek. The water by 
which the mill is run does not come from Sherman's Creek, how- 
ever, but from a smaller stream which flows through the wooded 
hills surrounding. 

It was in regular use as a gristmill until 1850. Then, after a 
period of idleness covering almost twenty years it was turned into 
a spoke and felloe factory by Frank Gibson, and later into a paint 
mill. Then for some years it was destined to idleness, but was 
again put in operation as a gristmill and is now in the ownership 
of S. V. Dunkelberger. An addition was erected to it in 1871, 
and at that time there was no mill machinery in the place. It is 
operated by an eighteen-foot overshot water wheel of the old type. 
Both the burr and modern roller process types of machinery are 


in use. On a corner of the foundation of this old historic land- 
mark is this inscription plate: "U. S. Geological Survey; Eleva- 
tion above sea level, 471 feet. A. D. 1903." The original mill is 
described as being a "log structure, with only one run of stone." 
It will be noted that the top story is not of stone. The original 
mill tract is spoken of as containing seventy-eight acres. 

The Hshelmmt Mill, now Butturf's. Just when the Eshelman, 
or Butturff mill, in Oliver Township, at Newport's very border, 
was built, cannot be stated exactly. It is built on a tract of land 
which once comprised 185 acres and which was warranted June 5, 
1772, to William West, Jr., from whom it passed on September 3 
of the same year to David English. That the mill was built before 
April 22, 1790, is sure, as on that day the sheriff sold it to Christo- 
pher Myers. In December, 1790, it was purchased from him by 
Dr. Daniel Fahnestock, of Warrington, York County. In 1814 it 
was assessed in the name of Joseph Zinn. At that time the original 
stone building, 50x60 feet in size, included all of the mill, but 
Amos Overholtzer, who purchased it in 1873, built the brick story 
to it and added improved machinery. A sawmill, plaster mill and 
dwelling house with nine acres of land, were a part of the estab- 
lishment. M. B. Eshelman, who purchased it in 1876, from Mr. 
Oberholtzer's administrator for $17,500, added the latter. Mr. 
Eshelman's heirs sold it to T. H. Butturf, in 1902, for $5,200. 

The Alt. Patrick Crist mill. Shall I ever forget it? Not while 
memory lasts. Geo. Blattenberger, Jr., friend of my father's, was 
the miller, and to him came the grists from the countryside to be 
ground into flour for the family bread. Although many years 
have passed since I made my last trip there and heard the jolly 
greeting and the ringing laugh of the miller, who now sleeps the 
sleep that knows no waking, in the cemetery on the heights above 
Liverpool, it seems as but yesterday. The way from home led 
along the Pennsylvania Canal, and in its palmy days many boats 
were passed on the way, and occasionally the nifty little steamer of 
Col. T. T. W'eirman, the superintendent, would be passed. It was 
an innovation in those days. Opposite the mill was an overflow, 
where the waters of the canal fell over the side of an aqueduct 
to the bed of the valley stream crossing beneath, with a swish and 
a roar that drowned ordinary speaking. The trip to the mill was 
never labor, as the welcome of Mr. Blattenberger, whose heart 
was in the right place, far repaid any seemingly hardships. 

Just when this mill was built, or when the first mill was built 
at that site, is unknown, but a map of 1791 shows a mill located 
at "Berry's Falls." As the locations are identical the inference is 
that it was built prior to 1 791. While the property was not pat- 
ented until November 10, 1829, it had been warranted long before 
and made into a farm. It was early owned by a man named Bru- 


baker, and in August, [834, was sold as the estate of Peter Ritner 
(a brother of Governor Ritner) to Simon Gratz, who transferred 
ii m Simon Cameron in trust for the Lykens Valley Coal Com- 
pany, who desired it for a landing' for their coal flats which 
brought coal across the river to the new Susquehanna Canal. In 
1841 it was purchased by George Blattenberger, Sr., familiarly 
known as "Judge," having been an associate judge of the county. 
He owned it until 1889, when it was purchased by Adam Barner, 
who died in 1890. It is now owned by his son, George A. Barner. 
The transfer of 1834 names the place as having a sawmill, a mer- 
chant mill, a plaster mill, a flour mill, a trip-hammer, and a dis- 
tillery. The mill has been dismantled and the building removed 
and, when completed, "the Susquehanna Trail" will pass over the 

The farm originally included all of Mt. Patrick, the mill prop- 
erty, the Jacob McConnell place, and the S. E. Bucke farm. The 
distillery was located across the creek from the mill, on the mill- 
house plot. The fulling mill was at the forebay of the gristmill and 
the sumac mill at the Jacob McConnell place. 

The Old Snyder or Hackett Mill. John Sanderson, wdio owned 
eleven hundred acres of land in one body, near Elliottsburg, in 
Spring Township, was assessed with two stills and a gristmill in 
1792. Upon his death he devised the land covering this mill site 
to his nephew, George Elliott. In 183 1 George Elliott conveyed 
to George S. Hackett 400 acres upon which was erected the mill 
and a distillery. In 1850 he sold it to Alexander Topley, of Bloom- 
field, and upon his death, in 1854, his administrator conveyed it 
to Robert and Isaac Jones. A year later they sold it to John Sny- 
der, who operated it until about 1873, when it was found to be 
unprofitable to continue operations. Mr. Snyder died on the 
premises in 1882, and in 1907 the old mill property passed to Silas 
W. Moyer, the present owner. 

The Snyder Mill, now Hooke's. In 18135 John Waggoner, the 
father of Benjamin Waggoner, the first of the clan of that name 
to own the Roddy mill, erected a mill near Bridgeport, which is 
now known as Snyder's mill. There is an article of agreement on 
record dated 1805 in which Thomas Ross grants to Mr. Wag- 
goner the privilege of "joining" his mill dam to lands of his. At 
the same time he was the owner of the mill in Kennedy's Valley, 
assessed to Robert Garwood in [782, and which he purchased a 
few years later. There is record of his residence in Kennedy's 
Valley until his death, and the presumption is that he built the 
Snyder mill as an investment. 

Mr. Waggoner died in 1834. and among other things in his ap- 
praisement was ninety-two barrels of whiskey, and one barrel of 
peach brandy appraised at $8.00 per barrel, for which $1.75 per 


barrel was paid to convey it to Baltimore in wagons. His estate 
was unsettled for years, and in 1X54, the sheriff, by proceedings in 
partition, deeded these lands, "having thereon erected a large brick 
house, log barn, and a large stone merchant mill and other out- 
buildings to Joseph McClure and William W. Snyder. Mr. Mc- 
Clure died and his heirs conveyed his half to James McClure, from 
whom, in 1861, Mr. Snyder secured entire ownership. Mr. Sny- 
der operated the mill until his death in 1893. In 1902 the prop- 
erty was conveyed to Dr. B. P. Hooke (a son-in-law of Mr. Sny- 
der), who died" in 1903, and by will devised it to his son, B. P. 
Hooke, the present owner. 

The Bear Mill. The Bear mill is located on Sherman's Creek, 
in Madison Township, south of Centre, and about one and one- 
half miles from Loysville. It is on a tract warranted by John 
Scouller in 1787. It was erected prior to 1814, at which time 
Englehart Wormley was assessed with it. In 1835 it was in pos- 
session of John Wormley. The brick mill which replaced the first 
structure was erected in 1841. Henry Bear came into possession 
and he and his son, Wm. F. Bear, operated it for many years. In 
1889 it was purchased by Jos. B. Lightner, who in 1910 sold to 
Ida Wolfe, and from her in 191 5 it was purchased by the Tressler 
( )rphans' Home and an electric light plant installed. 

The Patterson Mill. In 1753, as indicated in a case before the 
provincial governor, William Patterson had located on Laurel Run, 
Tyrone Township. He did not, however, warrant lands until 1766, 
when he took up four hundred acres, some of which is still in pos- 
session of the Patterson family. In 18 14 Francis Patterson had a 
sawmill there, and soon after erected an oil mill. These two, and 
a chopping mill were operated by Thomas Patterson in 1825. 
Then, in the period between 1830 and 1840, Fahnestock and 
Ferguson built a scythe and edge-tool factory there. John Wag- 
goner, a son of the sire of the Waggoner family of millers, then 
purchased it and turned the oil mill and the chopping mill into a 
gristmill. After 1840 Solomon Hengst also conducted a foundry 
"there for a few years. William A. and James F. Lightner later 
came into possession of the mill, and in 1887 sold to Martin L. 
Rice, who after operating it for some years, in 1903 sold it to the 
Oak Extract Company, and from that time it has been dismantled 
as a mill. 

Bi.rler's Mill. The old Bixler flour mill is located on Tousey's 
Run, in Madison Township, and is still in operation, the present 
miller being George E. Beck, and the place being often known as 
Beck's Mills. It was built in 1812-1814 by Zalmon and Azariah 
Tousey, brothers, who had purchased the property containing 345 
acres, March 7, 1812, from Hugh Hamilton, whose holdings com- 
prised over six hundred acres and was known as "Hamiltonia." 


This mill is located on the tract warranted by Hugh Alexander, 
February 3, 1755, the day the land office was first opened to set- 
tlement for Perry County. It contained 344 acres. In 180 1 this 
property was transferred to Hugh Hamilton, a son of John Hamil- 
ton and Margaret Alexander, the warrantee's daughter. The new 
owner was also possessor of the 400 acres which adjoined and 
which was warranted by John Hamilton, which made the tract a 
large one as noted above. Jacob Bixler and John Flickinger, in 
1836 bought it from the administrators of the Touseys and in a 
tew years divided it. the mill going to Bixler with ninety acres of 
land, and the rest of the lands to Flickinger. 

A mute reminder of the early settlement of this young couple 
and the erection of their home lies in the office of the old mill. 
It is the corner stone of the old house, which Bixler tore away in 
1840, it being a two-story log house. It is of marble, with an 
inscription arranged as in the accompanying diagram. 







The A is evidently the initial of the family name, Alexander, 
and the II and M on a lower line probably refer to the first ini- 
tials of the builders, Hugh and Martha. The date probably is con- 
nected with the early occupation of the lands. The S. and N. evi- 
dently refer to the directions of the compass, and the stone was 
evidently used to mark their claim. 

In 1846 Jacob Bixler rebuilt the east end of the mill from the 
foundation, and in 1870 remodeled the interior and put in two 
turbine water wheels, the first in the county. He also built the 
adjoining woollen mill in 1853, of which more elsewhere. The 
firm was later known as Jacob Bixler & Sons. 

The present owner, George E. Beck, purchased the property and 
mills from the Bixler heirs in 1888 and does a good business. The 
mill is of the old-fashioned burr variety and the stones used in 
grinding the grain are secured in France, none as satisfactory being 
obtainable elsewhere. 

Before the county was dotted with its many merchandising 
places the Bixler mill made blankets and yarns, and besides whole- 
saling them also ran a wagon over the county doing a retailing 
business. Upon this wagon appeared in neat lettering: "Centre 
Woollen Mills, Bixler & Bro., Blankets, Yarns, etc." Many Perry 
Countians, even of middle age, can remember its regular trips. It 
still stands in a shed at the mills, a mute reminder of a passing age. 
Even the advertisements on its sides link the past with the present, 


for among the names are those of persons yet living, who were 
then in business. The names: 

"Bentzell & Bro., Tailors. New Bloomfield. 

"Ensminger Livery, New Bloomfield. 

"A. P. Nickel, Undertaking, New Bloomfield. 

"Chas. B. Stewart, Watches, New Bloomfield. 

"Wm. H. Smith, Coach Maker, New Bloomfield. 

"John A. Martin, Harness, New Bloomfield." 

The old woollen mill was operated until 1910. It still contains 
the old looms, hut the only work done there is the carding of wool 
on a small scale and principally as an accommodation, for the rais- 
ing of sheep in the county has decreased as the years have passed. 
The mill contained an old "hand-mule" spinner, with 160 spindles. 
Bixler's Mills was once a thriving settlement, and in 1884 a post 
office was established there named Bixler, since replaced by rural 
delivery. Jacob Bixler was the son of a miller, Jacob Bixler, Sr., 
who came from Dauphin County in 1818 and built the mill near 
Eshcol, in Saville Township. 

Other Mills. The history of the various other mills, many of 
them dating back a century, appears in the various chapters de- 
voted to the townships and boroughs of the county, to be found 
elsewhere in this book. 


The lands of Perry County were not long settled by any of the 
white race before there began springing up here and there along 
the various streams, numbers of the old-fashioned water-power 
sawmills, known largely as "up-and-down" sawmills. On. them 
were sawed the huge trees, which were fashioned into boards and 
shingles for the building of the early homes. There were so many 
of these at various times and places that it is impossible to give 
with any degree of thoroughness their locations and owners. 
Through them the primeval forests were turned into dwelling, 
houses, barns, outbuildings, churches, bridges, schoolhonses, and 
the forerunner of the brick and cement pavement — the old-time 
boardwalk. The drainage basins of practically all important 
streams were locations of one or more of these early manufactur- 
ing plants. In a single community of which Shermansdale was the 
centre, there were the McCord mill near Pisgah, the Smiley mill 
on Smiley Run, the McCaskey mill in northern Carroll, the Stauf- 
fer mill in a gorge of the mountain along Sherman's Creek, the 
Rebert (now Smith's) mill west of that village, and that of John 
H. Lonck, two miles east of Shermansdale, where he also had a 
gristmill and post office known as Louck's Mills, to which the mails 
were carried from Carlisle by postrider. The proprietors of four 
of these mills— the McCord, Smiley, McCaskey, and Louck's— 


now rest within fifty feet of each other, in the Presbyterian ceme- 
tery near Shermansdale, while their mills, later developed into the 
"thnndergust" type, have long since been swept away by the floods 
from the very hills which their industry denuded, and of which it 
was the contributing cause. Some of these old milldams were 
strongly constructed and even the immense force of successive 
floods has failed to remove the large boulders which were used in 
their construction, among those being that at the Louck mill. In 
1814 Tyrone Township alone had eighteen such mills. Later the 
steam mill with its circular saw largely did the work of these more 
primitive mills. 

The date of the probable entry into Perry County forests of the 
steam sawmill, quoted elsewhere as about 1870, is no doubt cor- 
rect, as that is the year in which a Mr. Coulter, of Mechanicsburg, 
put a mill in "Allen's Swamp," at the western end of the Cove 
Mountain, between that mountain and Pine Hill. It took almost 
four years to saw the lumber, and the sale of the outfit took place 
in 1874. When that operation was started deer were still plentiful 
and were often seen by the woodsmen. A heavy growth of timber 
long covered the lands which comprise Perry County. 

In the vicinity of "The Narrows," near the Rye-Carroll Town- 
ship line, there were four of these up-and-down sawmills. They 
were owned by Conrad Brubaker, Adam Nace, Henry Sykes, and 
Adam Luckenbaugh. James Sykes also had a fulling mill there, 
carding wool and weaving blankets. In connection with the settle- 
ment known as "The Narrows," the change in population might 
be noted here. Between forty and fifty persons then resided there, 
while to-day there is one lone house. 

That part of Perry County which included present Juniata 
Township and which in 1795 included all of Tuscarora and Oliver, 
and parts of Centre and Miller Townships, was once heavily 
wooded. In the assessment lists of that year twelve sawmills were 
enumerated. There were also two gristmills, two tanyards and 
two distilleries, the latter both operated by George Hildebrand. 
With the cutting of the timber came the development of the land. 

Sixty years ago there were at least three sawmills on Sugar Run, 
the small stream which empties into the Juniata opposite Cocola- 
mus Creek. All did considerable business, yet to-day there seems 
to be hardly enough water there to turn a wheel. 

Fulling Mills. 

On a previous page of this chapter, in connection with the Bixler 
gristmill, is a description of the Bixler fulling mill, which was but 
one of a number of fulling mills located throughout the county, 


where wool was carded and clothing manufactured. Mention of 
these mills is made in the various chapters relating' to the townships 
in which they were located. One of these mills was operand by 
George Gutshall, at New Germantown, he also having a chopping 
mill, lie was the grandfather of Mrs. Wilson Morrison, yet living 
in that town, who remembers how they "carded wool into round 
rolls almost a yard in length, from which the women spun the 
yarn." Homespun clothing was then in general use. Mrs. Mor- 
rison also tells of how they sowed flax, pulled, dried and threshed 
it, using a "flax-break" to divest it of the outside shell. Although 
hut a young girl she helped in this work. 

"Stills" and Distilllriks. 

At an early day, before the coming of the canal and the rail- 
roads, the surplus products of the farms in the line of grains and 
fruits were distilled into liquors. Fruits when ripe, had either to 
be dried or distilled into liquors for preservation. Surrounded 
by these conditions the pioneers would either erect stills or take 
their apples and peaches, usually loaded in large English wagon- 
beds which held from forty to eighty bushels, and have them dis- 
tilled into brandy and applejack, for which the distiller received 
one-half the product. It was not unusual to see a long line of 
wagons awaiting their turn at these distilleries. Grains were also 
distilled into liquors, as the product in that condensed form re- 
quired far fewer trips to the far-away Baltimore market. There 
was also a demand for these products and the state even made con- 
cessions to encourage the industry, which has long since passed out 
of Perry County life, and which the Eighteenth Amendment to the 
Constitution of the United States this year — -1920 — eliminated for 
all time. 

Owing to these conditions the Perry County territory teemed 
with "stills" and distilleries. As early as 1814 Tyrone Township 
alone had seventeen stills on the assessment roll. Liquor seems to 
have been in very general use during that early period and the price 
was extremely low. Rye whiskey sold from thirty-three to thirty- 
seven cents a gallon. Peach brandy was quoted at the same prices, 
and applejack at twenty-five cents per gallon. 

The locations of many. of these old stills are to be seen or are 
pointed out by the residents. They were principally in western 
Perry and in a few instances the stillhouses are still standing. 
The one on the Lucian R. McMillen farm at Kistler, Madison 
Township, is in good repair, and those at the Rice mill, in Tyrone 
Township, and Manassas Gap, three miles south of Blain, in Jack- 
son Township, still stand. A partial list of locations follow: 

On the old Shearer farm, now owned by David Beaston, above Mc- 
Laughlin's, in Toboyne Townsbip. 


On the James Johnston farm, in Toboyne Township, one mile above 
New Germantown. 

On the farm of Clark Bower, in Jackson Township. 

At Manassas Gap, three miles south of Plain. Operated by Philip 
Stambaugh about 1830. The building still stands on the property of David 
Rowe, Jr. 

The Hackett distillery on Reisinger Brothers' farm, in Madison Town 
ship, at a place locally known as Pine Grove, near Kistler. 
A half-mile west of Blain. 
On the J. E. Lyons farm, at Andersonburg. 

The stone distillery on the Lucian R. McMillen farm at Kistler, Madison 
Township. In good condition. 

On George Palm farm, one and one-half miles east of Kistler. 
Near the Lutheran Church at Saville, Saville Township. 
The Conrad Ernest still at Stony Point, three miles east of Blain. 
At Kistler, just west of the Lutheran Church. 

On the J. S. Lightner farm, one and one-half miles southeast of Cisna's 

The Baughman distillery, near Rock schoolhouse, in Saville Township. 
Near the M. E. Chapel in Madison Township. 
One on the W. Scott Irvine farm, in Saville Township. 
On the John and Solomon Briner farm on Sherman's Creek, one and 
one-half miles south of Loysville, now owned by Edward Briner. 

On Montour's Run at Rice's mill, near where it joins Sherman's Creek. 
It still stands. 

The Wagner still, later Egolf's, in lower Kennedy's Valley, Tyrone 
Township. In business as late as 1868. 

Keek's distillery, on the Adam Wentzcl farm at Bridgeport, in Spring 
Township. It burned in 1874, but had ceased operations a few years 

On the Joseph Lightner place, "Still House Hollow," Tyrone Township. 
In Landisburg, near Water Street. 

( )n the Junkin place in Spring Township, now owned by George Duni. 
On the farm of Samuel Ebert, north of the Tressler Orphans' Home. 
At Elliottsburg, in Spring Township. 

Near Jackson schoolhouse in Saville Township, about a mile north of 

In "Little Germany," Spring Township, built by John Fuas (Foose). 
On property of S. W. Moyer, a short distance east of Elliottsburg. 
On the Abraham Bower farm, at Falling Springs. 

On Swartz farm, west of New Bloomfield, south of former steam mill. 
On the J. L. Kline farm, in Liverpool Township's eastern extremity. 
On the steam mill property, below Liverpool, a distillery was in opera- 
tion as late as 1869. The property is now owned by Mrs. John Williamson. 
At Mt. Patrick, on the western bank of the creek from the gristmill, 
long known as the Blattenberger mill, now Barner's. 

On the J. R. Wright farm in Greenwood Township. This is the prop- 
erty which was once owned by Rev. Britton E. Collins, but, of course, he 
was not the operator of a distillery, but had only purchased a farm on 
which one had been located. 

At Falling Springs, in Spring Township, where Abraham Bower re- 
sided and operated it. 

Between Pine Hill and Sherman's Creek, at Billow's old fording. 
Sponsler's distillery. New Bloomfield, site of foundry, Carlisle Street. 
Along Little Buffalo Creek, in Juniata Township, owned and operated 
by Abram Flurie. 


The Tanning Industry. 

The tunning of leather dates back to the time of the red men, 
whose product was so finely tanned that one of Perry County's 
greatest tanners tells us it has never been equaled by the whites. 
Accidentally discovered by letting a hide lie among some oak hark 
over winter the Indians experimented until they had perfected a 
system. Their most delicate work was produced by using the 
brains of the deer. A history of this little mountain-bound county 
without something of its tanning industry and mention of the tan- 
ner's apprentice who became Pennsylvania's most noted journalist 
and a national figure (Col. A. K. McClure), would not be a his- 
tory at all. At first the tanneries followed the bark to be used in 
tanning, locating in the very midst of the forests, but later the 
bark followed the tanneries, as they were located along the trans- 
portation lines, many of the inland tanneries going out of ex- 

The tanning industry in America is, in fact, one of the original 
industries, and was from the early days one of the vocations of 
the pioneers. Perry County at one time was among the leading 
counties of the state in the tanning business, and had tanneries in 
many localities, but to-day only three remain, the Beaver tannery, 
near Blain, the Bechtel tannery at Newport, and the Rippman tan- 
nery at Millerstown. Although some of these tanneries are out of 
existence for a half-century an attempt has been made to record 
their locations, in so far as possible : 

Ahl's tannery, in Henry's Valley, Toboyne Township. Samuel Lupfer 
ran it for years. 

Tannery one mile above Fairview Church, in Toboyne Township, now 
run as a chopping mill. Once owned by E. A. McLaughlin, now by Samuel 

Tannery in New Germantown, in Toboyne Township, near where M. E. 
Church stands. Once owned by William D. Humes. 

Beaver tannery at Monterey, Toboyne Township. Israel Lupfer ran it 
for years. One of the three tanneries still in operation. Now owned by 
Silas W. Gutshall. 

Cook's tannery, in Horse Valley, Toboyne Township, near church. 

Tannery in Henry's Valley. 

Mohler's tannery in Liberty Valley, Madison Township. Built by Mil- 
ligan & Beale. 

The McNeil tannery at Blain, on the Harry N. Hall farm. Burned in 

The George Hench tannery at Centre, on present Robert Hench farm. 
Once the largest tannery in the county. 

The Titzell tannery, between Green Park and Elliottsburg, operated 
until about 1870. 

The Shearer tannery, owned by the father of Ex-Sheriff H. C. Shearer 
between Green Park and Landisburg, in Tyrone Township. 

The Hench & Black tannery in Landisburg. 

The Diven tannery in Landisburg. 


Tannery in Kennedy's Valley, Tyrone Township, last operated by 
"Colonel" Win. Graham, now the Newton Reisinger farm. 

Tannery in Sheaffer Valley, Tyrone Township, where Harry Kiner re- 

Tannery at Oak Grove, Tyrone Township, recently owned by Henchs, 
now in the possession of Thomas Bernheisel. 

The Abraham Wertz tannery in Tyrone Township, on Carlisle road, 
three miles from Landisburg, now the Al. Dnnkelberger farm. 

Tannery one mile above Elliottsbnrg, in Spring Township, last owned 
by a Mr. Wentzell. 

Loysville tannery, on property now owned by Mrs. William Kell. 

The tannery of Daniel A. Bear's heirs, in Spring Township. 

The tannery at Dromgold's corner, in Carroll Township, operated by 
T. M. Dromgold. 

The Ickesburg tannery, erected in 1821. 

The tannery above Ickesburg, long known as the Swartz tannery. 

The Eshcol tannery, erected by William Rosensteel. 

The tannery at Roseburg, Saville Township. 

The Millerstown tannery, one of the very first. One of the three still 
in operation. Now owned by J. G. H. and C. A. Rippman, Jr. 

The North tannery, in Greenwood Township. 

The Newport tannery, now owned by the Elk Tanning Company. One 
of the three still in operation. 

The Jordan tannery, at Walnut and Front Streets, Newport. 

The Peale tannery, opposite the old jail, in New Bloomfield. 

Tannery one mile west of New Bloomfield, operated as early as 184,}, by 
Israel Eupfer. 

The tannery near Nekoda store, in Greenwood Township, known as 

The tannery at Allen's Cove (later Cove Forge, and now Covallen), 
where A. G. White (father of James A. White, of Shermansdale) built 
the Good Hope tannery and carried on the tanning business. 

The tannery which John Bowers built at Mannsville and which he 
operated as late as 1871, when he died. 

The tannery on Hominy Ridge, Juniata Township, operated by Robert 
Stephens. Residents who can remember to 1856 say it had then already 
ceased to operate. One stone building still stands. 

The William Fosselman tannery, in Tuscarora Township, later the prop- 
erty of James Davis, and now owned by McClellan Lineawever. Out of 
business prior to 1870. 

Before the building of the narrow gauge road — the Newport & 
Sherman's Valley — through western Perry County, and after 
the tanneries in western Perry had largely become extinct, the 
transportation of bark from that section to the Newport tannery 
was extensive, and those old bark wagons drawn by four- and six- 
horse teams are well remembered by many yet living. During the 
bark season long lines of them passed down the main valley high- 
way daily. 

The first tannery in the county was built by Joshua North, on 
the James Patterson farm, in Greenwood Township, before 1800. 
The bark was chopped into bits with axes in those days, instead of 
being ground. This tannery was later known as Jordan's. Just 
when North built the tannery is unknown, but in 1776 Joshua 


North, tanner, and Caleb North, storekeeper, came from Chester 
County and bought a number of tracts of land, including the old 
tannery farm. It probably was built soon after that. The Norths 
also bought the island in the Juniata, long known as North's Is- 
land, and being located at the old Rope Ferry Dam. In 1800 
[oshua North built the MillerstQwn tannery, selling to Isaac Mc- 
Cord in 1816. During the ownership of Mr. McCord he also 
bought the Jordan tannery and closed it down. He also erected 
the stone house, which is the present home of J. H. G. Rippman, 
in 1822. and began the erection of a new tannery in tSj_j. In 
1849 Henry Hopple purchased the plant from the McCord heirs 
for $2,500. and modernized it by the introduction of steam in 1867. 
Two years later he sold it to Joseph Howell, of Philadelphia, for 
$6,000.00. He erected a new steam tannery in 1870. In the mean- 
time it had become Howell & Company, who were overcome with 
financial difficulties, and the property was purchased in 1882 by 
Charles A. Rippman. a skilled tanner and business man, at 
assignee's sale. He put in modern leeches and modernized it 
throughout with improved machinery. In 1901 Mr. Rippman sold 
it to two of his sons, J. G. H. and C. A. Rippman, Jr., who are 
the owners at this time. This tannery has two claims to distinc- 
tion. One is that it was awarded the highest award for its product 
— oak tanned sole leather, at the World's Fair at Chicago in 1893, 
and the other is that it is an independent concern, altogether within 
the control of its owners. Few tanneries to-day lay claim to that 
distinction. Charles H. Rippman has been identified with the tan- 
ning trade in Perry County longer than any other man, and his 
product had a state- wide reputation. 

The Beaver tannery is located in Jackson Township, two miles 
south of Blain. It was established prior to 1835 by a man named 
Ebright, and has been in continuous operation ever since, being the 
only inland tannery in the county from among the large number to 
remain in operation. The present tannery building was erected in 
[849 by Samuel Mateer. The output is rough leather, harness 
leather and lace leather. This tannery has been operated by three 
generations of Gutshalls. Capt. Samuel Gutshall owned and 
operated it for some time prior to i860. His son, David Gutshall. 
then became owner and operated it until 1806, when the present 
owner, Silas W. Gutshall, assumed charge, since which time he 
has operated it. 

The Newport tannery dates back to 1872. when John A. Bechtel 
& Son purchased a plot of three acres of land in Oliver Township, 
adjoining Newport Borough on the west, and extending from 
Third to Front Street. This part of the township has since been 
taken into the Newport Borough. The Bechtels erected on this 
site a two-story stone tannery, which is still in use and now owned 


by the Elk Tanning Company, Ridgway, Pa. John A. Bechtel 
died in 1875, and the business was then conducted by the remaining 
member of the firm, his son, H. H. Bechtel. After the sale of this 
tannery (and another which he owned at Reed's Gap) to the Elk 
Tanning Company in 1893, he became associated with the Ameri- 
can Oak Leather Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, and at the time of 
his death, July 13, 1914, was vice-president of that company. 
Horace Beard, who was a grandson of John A. Bechtel, was the 
first superintendent appointed by the Elk Tanning Company, serv- 
ing from 1893 to 1900, when he became division superintendent 
of a group of tanneries, including the Newport tannery, which he 
held until his death, April 7, 1911. Edward G. Sheaf er succeeded 
Mr. Beard as superintendent from 1900 to 1914, when he was 
transferred to a Southern tannery, and John G. Culver appointed 
superintendent, serving from 1914 to 1916. Mr. Culver was suc- 
ceeded by George P. Bistline, a native of Perry County, who is 
the present superintendent. This tannery increased its capacity 
and has been kept in first-class condition, employing a large num- 
ber of men steadily from the time of its erection. It has been idle 
only sixty days since its erection in 1872. Oak tanned sole leather 
has always been manufactured at this plant, and from 4,000 to 
5,000 tons of rock oak bark are consumed annually, most of which 
is purchased in Perry and surrounding counties. 

Quite a number of the employees have worked in the tannery 
for a long period of years, four men having an average of over 
forty years' service. While labor troubles throughout the country 
prevail this is a matter of interest. Two of these employees have 
been with it over forty-five years and two others over thirty-five, 
at this time (1920). These men and their length of service are 
George W. Taylor, 48 years ; James Gardner, 46 years ; George 
Shull, y] years, and William Gardner, 37 years. 

Early Iron Industry. 

There is a Jewish legend that when the temple at Jerusalem was 
completed the king gave a feast to the workmen and artificers em- 
ployed in its construction. The story went abroad that the par- 
ticular craftsman who had done the most to complete the great 
structure should have the seat of honor next to the king. A black- 
smith claimed the place and the populace clamored. The great 
Solomon commanded that the man be allowed to speak, whereupon 
he asked how these builders could have erected the temple without 
the tools which he had wrought out of iron. Solomon decreed 
that "the seat is his of right; all honor to the iron worker." Dur- 
ing a residence, while a newspaper proprietor, of more than a 
dozen years in Duncannon, the one iron town in Perry County, 1 
saw men toil amidst red-hot furnaces, while others slept, to pro- 


duce iron from the raw material. The scene is so vivid in my 
memory to this day that I join in saying "all honor to the iron 
worker," and especially those early pioneers, who wrought better 
than they knew, who established primitive plants within the con- 
hues of our forests and who were the heralds of the present great 
iron and steel industry of the nation. 

The very first one of these primitive plants within the county's 
boundaries, of which we can find record, is the Boyd forge, in 
Carroll Township. In 1793 William Boyd warranted 105 acres 
in eastern Carroll, at Boyd's Fording, and settled there. He 
erected several blacksmith forges and began the manufacture of 
nails. The iron was brought from Carlisle and slit by him into 
rods, and by himself and his three sons manufactured into hand- 
made nails. This plant was still in operation when the county 
was formed. 

As early as 1804 there is record of the Lewis forge, located on 
Cocolamus Creek, in Greenwood Township, near Millerstown, be- 
ing in operation. Its employees were mostly negroes who lived 
in a colony of huts surrounding the plant. In describing it in his 
history (1873) Wright says: "The old forge hammer, broken 
through the eye, still remains in the dried-up race, while the stone 
abutment breastwork of the dam, on the east side of the creek, 
may still be seen." It was known as Mt. Vernon forge and was 
built by General James Lewis in 1804. 

General Lewis was one of the proprietors of Hope furnace, 
west of Lewistown, and operated the Mt. Vernon forge in con- 
nection with it. He was a Berks County ironmaster, and James 
Blaine, of the vicinity of Blain, Perry County, was married to his 
daughter. In fact, Mr. Blaine helped him build Hope furnace in 
1797 and Mt. Vernon furnace in 1804. On the retirement of Mr. 
Lewis, Mr. Blaine operated the forge. He later sold to a man 
named M'Gara, who failed, the property coming into the posses- 
sion of Purcell & Woods. William P. Elliott and William Power 
purchased from them and rebuilt the forge, but failed in 1X17, 
and the property reverted to Purcell & Woods. From then it was 
never operated. The forge had two fires and two large hammers, 
which were supplied with charcoal from Forge Hill and pig metal 
from Hope furnace and Juniata furnace in Centre Township. 

Landisburg was the site of an early nail factory. It was located 
on Water Street, in the rear part of a building started in 1794 
and not completed until 1809. The front part is of stone, and the 
rear was built of logs. It is now owned by Mrs. Robert Shuman, 
and in it was located the office of the register and recorder when 
Landisburg was the temporary county seat. Just when the factory 
moyed therefrom is not known, but in the Perry Forester of June 
21, 1 82 1, appears the advertisement of the manufacturer, Joseph 


H. Kennedy, who offers "io-penny and 8-penny nails at 10 cents 
per pound." He add that "wheat will be received at 40 cents, and 
rye at 27 cents, in exchange." 

The various chapters of this book covering the townships tell 
of many early industries, among them the construction of a scythe 
and edge-tool factory by Peter Fahnestock and a Mr. Ferguson, 
during the period between 1830- 1840. It was located in Tyrone 
Township and had also a tilt-hammer attached. Between Landis- 
burg and Oak Grove, in Spring Township, Peter Moses built a 
large stone blacksmith shop and manufactured screw augers. At 
his death, in 1824, his son, also named Peter Moses, succeeded him. 

During the first half of the Nineteenth Century various furnaces 
and forges were erected throughout the county, but near its end 
but two remained in business, the furnaces at Duncannon and 
Newport. At this time but one, the Newport furnace, remains, 
and it is in operation but a small part of the time. The first of 
these furnaces to be built was the Juniata furnace. The inland 
furnaces ceased operations owing to the expensive hauls of the 
finished product to railroad sidings, and the Duncannon furnace 
was dismantled owing to the necessity of obtaining the raw ma- 
terials from far distant points at heavy cost. The first geological 
survey of Perry County, made in 1839-40, was largely responsible 
for the extension of the early furnace industry in Perry and ad- 
joining counties, as the existence of deposits of iron ore was fully 
established at that time. 

Juniata Furnace. The lands upon which Juniata furnace in 
Centre Township, was later erected, were warranted by James 
McConaughy in 1766, and later became the property of William 
Power, then a large landowner in what is now Perry County. 
About 1808 Power and David Watts, of Carlisle, erected, on a 
small stream which flows through the property, a small furnace, 
which later came to be known as Juniata furnace. They operated 
it for several years, and in 1824 the Watts heirs and Power leased 
the furnace to John Everhart, of Chester County, for a ten-year 
period. He erected a forge, and in 1825 put the furnace in blast, 
continuing operations for several years. 

During May, 1833. Charles Postley & Son, of Philadelphia, pur- 
chased the furnace property and 3,500 acres of land, which in- 
cluded a gristmill at the mouth of the run, paying therefor $19,500. 
During January, 1834, Postley & Company advertised for "six- 
teen stone and four potter hollowware moulders to work at the 
[uniata Iron Works." From Postley title had passed entirely to 
his sons, who sold it to John McKeehan and Matthew S. Henry 
in 1837. In a year or two James McGowan acquired the interest 
of Henry. Another furnace had been added further up the 
stream, and under McGowan's supervision both furnaces were 


operated. This firm built the gristmill, which later came to be 
known as Shoaff's mill. 

There was a large ore bank on the tract. A settlement had 
grown up around it. comprising eleven tenement houses, coal 
house, storehouse, warehouse, carpenter shop, blacksmith shop and 
the gristmill. About 184c; the furnace was abandoned and the mill 
passed to the ownership of William R. Shoaff. In 1855 the cast- 
ing house and the office were destroyed by a cyclone which hit the 
section. The property is now in possession of Ellis Shoaff", the 
mill having long since ceased operations. 

Flo Forge. Fio forge, in Wheat field Township, was built on 
a plot of ground which was warranted in 1766 by Benjamin 
Abram and which contained 207 acres. In 1827 Israel Downing 
and James B. Davis purchased twenty-three acres and began the 
erection of the forge, which they had almost completed in July, 

1828, when they sold to Jacob Lindley and Frederick Speck. They 
owned and operated it until 1841, when it passed to Elias Jackson, 
Samuel Yocum, and Daniel Kough, who at the same time operated 
Mary Ann furnace in Cumberland County. It later passed to a 
man named Walker, who retained Kough as manager. On March 
14. 1846, a great flood on Sherman's Creek carried away the dam 
and the plant was abandoned. 

Oak Grove Furnace. Oak Grove furnace was located in Spring 
Township on a tract of land purchased from Christian Hecken- 
dorn, in February, 1827, by Adam and John Hays. In a paper 
dated October, 1825, Heckendorn advertised three hundred acres 
of land for sale, describing it as an excellent location for a fur- 
nace, having ore within a half-mile. The new owners contracted 
with John Miller February 20, 1827, for "the right for twenty- 
one years to dig and haul iron ore from any part of land on which 
Miller lives and has his tanyard, at twenty dollars per year for 
every year they dig ore." On March 16th of the same year they 
contracted with Thomas March and John Souder to pay each fif- 
teen dollars per year for a like privilege. During the same year 
they built Charlotte furnace, it being put in blast on December 4, 
1827, under the management of Colonel George Patterson. It was 
operated until 1828, its capacity being twenty-five tons of metal 
per week. 

It was refitted during 1828-29 and was again put in blast in 

1829, its name being changed to Oak Grove furnace. It passed 
from the ownership of Adam and John Hays to that of Hays & 
McClure, John Hays remaining in the firm. In 1831 a post office 
was established there with John Hays as postmaster. In the mean- 
time McClure retired from the management and John Hays con- 
tinued until January 6, 1834, when he sold the furnace, his ore 
rights and 2,500 acres of land to Jacob F. Plies, for $22,000. It 



was later under the ownership of Plies, Hess & Company and of 
Jacob F. Plies & Company, the latter company being composed of 
Christian Thudium and Frederick Boger. It was abandoned about 
1843 and the property passed to Christian Thudium. With its 
passing also passed the post office, but many years later another 
was established near by and was known as "Lebo." The James 
McCormick heirs obtained possession of the property and owned 
it for many years. During the ownership of both Hays and Plies 
plates were manufactured or cast here for the old-fashioned "ten- 
plate stoves." 

Montebello Furnace. The old Montebello furnace, in Wheat- 
field Township, was located on a tract of land warranted by Wil- 
liam Baskins in 1766, which contained 238 acres. Its location was 
on Little Juniata Creek, several miles above King's mill, and near 
where Montebello Park, a popular amusement resort flourished 
during the early days of the Perry County Railroad. In 1834 
Jacob Lindley, Elizabeth and Hannah Downing and William 
Logan Fisher purchased this and an adjoining tract, "for the pur- 
pose of building a furnace thereon." It was built in a year or two, 
and after a few years passed to Fisher, Morgan & Company, who 
operated it until 1846 or 1848, when it was abandoned. It had a 
capacity of from twenty-five to thirty tons of iron per week. 
When the latter firm secured possession it was run in connection 
with the Duncannon iron plant, then owned by the same firm. 
They built a stave mill near the forge, which was in use until 1875, 
when it was destroyed by fire. The company owned and leased 
large timber tracts, from which the wood was cut and used for the 
burning of charcoal. The limestone and ore was hauled in wagons 
from the canal wharf at Losh's Run Station, on the Pennsylvania 
Railroad, and the finished product transported in the same way to 
the firm's Duncannon plant. In April, 1837, when the entire 
Mahanoy Ridge burned over the industry lost three thousand 
cords of wood by fire. The Forester pronounced this conflagra- 
tion "a grand and imposing spectacle," instead of speaking of the 
great loss. 

Perry Furnace. Perry furnace was located on a tract of land 
warranted by Anthony Shatto, which later came into the possession 
of William Power. In 1837 Jacob Loy, John Everhart, and John 
Rough, trading under the name of Loy, Everhart & Company, 
purchased several hundred acres of land and erected Perry fur- 
nace, where they began the manufacture of hollowware and ten- 
plate stoves. After running the plant for ten years they had finan- 
cial difficulties and the property was sold to Peter Cameron. The 
barn of Edward Comp is located on the site of the old furnace. 

Perry furnace was abandoned about 1S48. During its operation 
the timber was cut from a piece of woodland about three miles 


long and over a mile wide, and burned into charcoal. The iron 
ore mostly was procured at the Dum farm, in that section of 
Spring Township known as "Little Germany." After being re- 
duced to "pig iron" it was hauled overland by wagon to the Dun- 
cannon rolling mills, a distance of twelve miles. The limestone 
used in melting the ore was secured on the furnace farm. At one 
time a village of a dozen houses was located there, being occupied 
by the employees. On a single acre of ground there are nine 
springs, any one of which would be ample to supply a single farm 
with water. Half of them are phosphorous. 

Caroline Furnace. Travelers over the lines of the Pennsylvania 
Railroad will note that there stands not many rods east of Bailey 
Station a stone stack almost overgrown with vines. It is a mute 
reminder of the early furnace industry of Pennsylvania. There 
stood Caroline furnace. Even the very lands on which it stood 
have a historical setting. Samuel Martin, who located this claim 
of two hundred acres, on a part of which later stood Caroline fur- 
nace, also warranted an extensive acreage on the northern side of 
the Juniata, on which he built a gristmill and a sawmill. The prop- 
erty is described as being "at the Upper Falls, below the great bend 
south of Newport." John Bowman had evidently some prior claim 
on the property at Bailey Station, in Miller Township, as it is re- 
ferred to in Samuel Martin's will as the property purchased of him. 
In a mortgage it is mentioned as "above the Falls, adjoining Dick's 
Hill." Caroline furnace was erected by John D. Creigh in 1836, 
and began operations the same year. It later came-into the 1 Mis- 
session of Joseph Bailey, later a congressman of the United Stales. 
His residence, with numerous additions, still stands. Very little 
seems to have been recorded of this old industry. 

Cove Forge. About 1863 several hundred acres of land were 
purchased in the Cove, Penn Township, about one and one-half 
miles east of Duncannon, by Wm. Mcllvaine & Sons, of Reading, 
who in April, 1864, began the erection of a forge, long known as 
Cove forge. It was put in blast in September, 1865, with six fires, 
being run by water-power. A sexton hammer was operated by 
steam. On their lands they made charcoal for use in their own 
furnaces. It was operated for about twenty years. The large 
dam erected above the plant was put in by this firm, the lands now 
being owned by Robert C. Neal, whose father, Robert C. Neal, 
a Harrisburg capitalist, erected a fine mansion on the property, 
turning it into a gentleman's country estate. It was located upon 
the original Thomas Barnett tract, described in the chapter relat- 
ing to Penn Township. The local passenger station was long 
known as Cove Forge, but within the past decade it has been 
changed to Covallen, significant of Allen's Cove, long the name 
by which the Cove was known. 


The Duncannon Iron Works. The location of this plant is at 
the point of land lying just north of where Sherman's Creek enters 
the Susquehanna. It is on part of a tract of 220 acres, warranted 
June 2, 1762, to George Allen and surveyed to Robert Jones. In 
1827 it passed to Stephen Duncan and John D. Mahon, who imme- 
diately began the erection of a forge, which began operations in 
the summer of 1828. In February of the same year the firm 
bought ninety-four acres and the lower gristmill, a sawmill, and a 
distillery from Robert Clark, and on April 17 they purchased 1,231 
acres of land, comprised in three different tracts, from Andrew 
Mateer. The firm's advertisement called for men to go to work 
on July 31, 1828. The little plant run until July 9, 1829, when it 
was destroyed by fire, the loss being stated as from $1,500 to 
$2,000. It was at once rebuilt and in operation by December 
• if the same year. The firm of Duncan & Mahon then operated 
the forge until 1832 or 1833, when they leased it to John Johnston 
& Company, who also operated and were the owners of Chestnut 
Grove forge, in Adams County. This firm then operated it until 
the dissolution of the firm in September, 1834. The stock on hand 
was disposed of by public sale early in 1835 and in the spring of 
1836 the property of Duncan & Mahon passed to William Logan 
Fisher and Charles W. Morgan. It included the forge, which they 
operated for a short time, and about six thousand acres of land, 
mostly timber land. 

This firm was the forerunner of the Duncannon Iron Company. 
They erected the old rolling mill in 1837-38, on the site of the old 
forge, which they tore down. This first rolling mill was rather 
primitive, being but 60x100 feet. Its capacity was five thousand 
tons of bar iron per year. The first nail factory was erected by 
them in 1839 and began operations in 1840. Prior to its erection 
Fisher & Morgan had been sending their bar iron in flats to New 
Cumberland, where it was manufactured into nails by Roswell 
Woodward. When the Duncannon nail factory was completed 
that plant was dismantled and the twenty-five nail machines taken 
to Duncannon and installed. The new plant then had a capacity 
of twenty thousand kegs per annum. On March 14, 1846, a flood 
coming down Sherman's Creek, washed away the dam and part 
of the rolling mill. The mill and dam were rebuilt. This flood 
also took the Juniata River bridge and the eastern span of the 
Susquehanna River bridge. The furnace was erected in 1853. 
Its capacity was twenty tons per day. It was remodeled in 1880, 
its capacity then being fifteen thousand tons per year. The year 
i860 was a bad one for the plant. The nail factory burned on 
January 10th and the rolling mill dam was again washed out on 
May nth. The nail factory was rebuilt at once and the number 
of machines increased to forty-six, many being added later. The 


output then reached 100,000 kegs of nails annually. The dam was 
never rebuilt, as steam had already been used in part in the opera- 
tion of the rolling mill. 

In the meantime the firm had become Fisher, Morgan & Com- 
pany, and on February 1, 186], their interests were purchased by 
the newly organized Duncannon Iron Company, the old firm re- 
taining an interest in the stock of the new concern. The transfer 
of lands included about eight hundred acres. The new firm was 
under the management of John Wister, later for many years its 
president, and without doubt the greatest ironmaster ever inter- 
ested in any Perry County plant. When Fisher, Morgan & Com- 
pany sold to the Duncannon Iron Company they retained Monte- 
bello furnace (which had ceased operations), and 3,469 acres of 
land, which they sold in June, 1885, to John Wister, as trustee of 
the Duncannon Iron Company. The iron storage house was 
burned November 1., 187 r. The old stave mill, built when the first 
nail factory was erected, was burned in the spring of 1875, an ^ a 
new one immediately erected on the south hank of Sherman's 
Creek. On March 12, 1882, the rolling mill was burned down and 
again rebuilt at once. On the evening of November 28, 1888, the 
main building of the nail factory was entirely destroyed by fire 
and the machinery badly damaged. It too was immediately re- 
built, on the opposite side of Sherman's Creek. The large stone 
office building of the Duncannon Iron Company was built in 1866, 
being occupied January 14, 1867. It is 35x54 in size, with the 
main office room sixteen feet in height. The company store dates 
back to the time of the first forge, erected in 1828. Who the early 
managers of the company store were it is impossible to state. W. 
J. Stewart was the manager as early as 1871. 1 1 is successor was 
Ahram Hess, who was succeeded in 1882 by S. A. E. Rife. The 
store closed in 1908. 

John Wister was for over half a century connected with the 
Duncannon Iron Works, rising from errand boy to president and 
general manager. He was born in Germantown, Philadelphia, 
July 15, 1829, the son of William and Sarah Logan (Fisher) Wis- 
ter, the former of German and the latter of English descent. He 
was educated in the Germantown Academy. He arrived at Dun- 
cannon, via packet boat and on foot, November 2, 1845, to enter 
the employ of an uncle, skilled in the iron business, and his first 
position was that of office boy. He was then a tall, athletic young 
lad of but sixteen summers. From that position of office boy 
he became the noted president and general manager of the Dun- 
cannon Iron Company, skilled along every operation of the iron 
business, for he had made it a study. When he first came the 
operation of the plant was still furnished by the waters of Sher- 
man's Creek, and without any tariff on iron the workers at the 


plant were paid a meagre wage, and that often in scrip. Under 
his management steam was introduced and, witli a tariff placed 
upon foreign production, the Duncannon plant became one of the 
important iron plants of the state. Few labor troubles ever agi- 
tated the Duncannon mills, and in 
1895, upon the fiftieth anniver- 
sary of his connection with the 
plant . all the employees — over 
four hundred — marched to his 
residence to extend their good 
will, and incidentally, present a 
handsome and expensive chair to 
which all had contributed a small 
sum. Mr. Wister died June 4, 
1900, beloved by hundreds who 
had served under him at various 
times. He was not only presi- 
dent and general manager of the 
Duncannon Iron Company, but 
was president of both the Dun- 
cannon National Bank and the 
Trout Run Water Company. He 
attained his majority in 1850, and 
in 1852 the county press records 
that "John Wister III, was elect- 
ed corresponding secretary" of a 
Republican political meeting. It 
was in that small way that he be- 
gan his work in the Republican 
party of Perry County, from 
which he later could have had anything he desired. 

The furnace was run for a half century, ceasing operations in 
1900, and being dismantled in 1901-02. The nail factory made cut 
nails, winch were largely superceded by wire nails, and operations 
in it were discontinued in 1908. The plant was taken over by the 
Lebanon Iron & Steel Company, in 19 10, which has been operating 
it since then, except during slack periods. 

Among the exhibitors at the Centennial Exposition in Philadel- 
phia, in 1776, was the Duncannon Iron Company, which displayed 
a nail machine built and set up by the late William J. Black, long 
in the company's employ. 

An act was passed in 1839 by the Pennsylvania Legislature au- 
thorizing the building of a bridge across the Juniata at Baskins' 
Ferry, and the work was begun at once. On June 21, of the same 
year, another act was passed, which authorized the construction of 
a railroad from the Pennsylvania Canal, at Duncan's Island, to 

johx wister 

Tin- Greatest Iron Manufacturer of 
Perry County. 



Sherman's Creek. The mad was to begin al the eastern end of 
the bridge, at a point not exceeding one-fourth of a mile there- 
from, and to cross to the west bank of the Juniata, passing through 
or near Petersburg (now Duncannon), and to terminate at or near 
the mouth of Sherman's Creek, the distance being two miles. The 
directors were Cornelius Baskins, president; Amos A. Jones, 
Jacob Keiser, Thomas Duncan, Thomas K. Lmdley, John B. Top- 
ley, John Charters, and Jacob Clay. They were likewise the direc- 
tors of the bridge. This old railroad was used and operated by the 
Duncannon Iron Company in transporting to and from their plant 
raw material and the finished product, shipments being made and 
received at Benvenue by canal boat. The cars were drawn by 
horses and mules. The bridge over which the railroad crossed the 
Juniata River was washed away in 1845 and was rebuilt. On 
March 17, 1865, it was again washed away. The iron company 
then erected a warehouse at Aqueduct, reshipping by rail from 
there to Duncannon. After that the road was no longer used, al- 
though its rails lay for a number of years. 

Marshall Furnace. The lands upon which Marshall furnace, in 
East Newport, was built, was purchased of Elias Fisher, and in 
1872, Egle, Philips & Company erected the furnace, which later 
passed into the possession of the Marshall family, of Philadelphia. 
Major Peter Hiestand was long superintendent of this furnace, 
which ran rather regularly until about 1900, but which has run 
intermittently since, owing to its distance from raw material. 


IT seems strange that these shores should have been hidden so 
long and that they should be reserved for settlement until after 
the Reformation. Could it have been mere chance, or was it 
the work of an all- wise Creator? Did He reserve these lands for 
the most enlightened Christian people of that age — for those west- 
ern Europeans, the Pilgrim, the Puritan, the Holland Dutch, the 
Friend, the German, the Scotch- Irish, and all that noble band who 
braved the dangers of the deep and the terror of the red men that 
they might worship God according to their own free will? 

The men who founded Pennsylvania were intensely religious ; 
many of them came here to have freedom of religious worship ; 
they lived in a period when religious doctrines were the great ab- 
sorbing questions of life, so much so that the present generation 
cannot realize the zeal of their ancestry. They had family worship 
in their homes. The Father's business was their first considera- 
tion, and they builded well, for notwithstanding any seeming laxity 
of religion, even the sneering cynic does not enter the state of wed- 
lock nor have the last sad rites for a member of his family occur 
without calling upon the ministry and the church, thus recognizing 
its sanctity and Divine inspiration. 

Those churchmen of generations ago and even of the passing 
generations were men of stability and worth who stood four- 
square in their communities and were as solid and trustworthy as 
the very hills which surrounded them. Even to-day, is it not 
largely so with the active churchmen — those who attend and par- 
ticipate and whose names are upon the church books for more 
than business reasons? Of course there were prejudices in those 
days, but they have largely turned to dust, buried bigotries of a 
departing age. In all the writer's many travels over the territory 
during the past few years in only two cases did he note any evi- 
dence of prejudice in regard to sect upon the part of those inter- 
viewed and one of the interviewed is now numbered with the de- 
parted. Joint services are held in many towns and communities 
by the various denominations, and this passing of prejudice is a 
heritage largely due to the "union Sunday school picnics" of yes- 
teryear, when the men and women of to-day were boys and girls 
and knew their neighbor of another creed was just as good a fel- 
low and that there was really little difference — and no vital one — 
in their beliefs. And this community spirit is growing! 



Some of the old-time preachers were often loud in their dis- 
courses, and sometimes long. Many of them preached much of 
the relent lessness of God towards evildoers, instead of dwelling 
upon His love and forgiving spirit, ofttimes shouting or thunder- 
ing their remarks. It is, however, even said of Jonathan Edwards, 
the prominent New England theologian, whose life was passed in 
benevolence, that he delighted in describing the fierceness and re- 
lentless cruelty of God. 

Bancroft, the historian, says : "He who will not honor the mem- 
ory and respect the influence of John Calvin knows but little of 
the origin of American liberty," and it was the creed of John Cal- 
vin that first carried the Gospel into the territory now compri sing- 
Perry County. The Scotch-Irish were the first to settle Perry 
County territory, and with them came Calvinism and Presbyte- 
rianism. Here, in the heart of the forests, they planted the first 
churches, one of which is to-day a bulwark of strength in western 
Perry, in the famous Sherman's Valley. In those early days the 
church had more or less dominion as to where buildings should 
be erected and where dividing lines should be drawn in the inter- 
vening territory. That that question came up early in the settle- 
ment is evidenced by the fact that the Presbytery of Donegal — 
practically the predecessor of the Carlisle Presbytery — at a meet- 
ing held April 24, 1766, appointed a committee "to attempt to set- 
tle matters respecting the seat of a meetinghouse or meetinghouses 
to be erected in Sherman's Valley." It was to meet the Wednes- 
day after the third Sabbath of June. It was composed of Rev. 
Robert Cooper, Rev. George Duffield, and the following elders: 
Colonel Armstrong (with William Lyon, alternate), Thomas Wil- 
son and John McKnight, the elders to devote the previous Tues- 
day "to reconnoitre." 

This committee met at George Robinson's — close to the present 
location of Centre church — on July 2. After two days devoted to 
hearing testimony and deliberating the committee came to the con- 
clusion "that there ought to be a church at Alexander Morrow's 
or James Blain's (where there was already a graveyard) for the 
upper end of the valley, and one at George Robinson's for the 
centre." Settling the place of the location for the lower meeting- 
house was deferred until further light could be obtained. (Rec- 
ords of Presbytery for 1766, pp. 186-189.) These incidents pre- 
date the forming of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian 
Church in America, which convened first in 1788. 

To a little book printed in London, in 1768, entitled "The Jour- 
nal of a Two-Months' Tour, with a view of Promoting Religion 
Among the Frontier Inhabitants of Pennsylvania, and of Intro- 
ducing Christianity Among the Indians to the Westward of the 
Allegheny Mountains," we are indebted for a glimpse of the early 


introduction of religious worship in Sherman's Valley. While the 
title was long the pages were few, only no, and it was in the form 
of a report, hy Rev. Charles Beatty, to the Earl of Darmouth and 
other prominent Englishmen then interested in that work. The 
time covered was in 1766, and after reciting that he was appointed 
by the Synod of New York and Philadelphia to visit the frontier 
inhabitants "that a better judgment might be formed what assist- 
ance might be necessary to afford them, in their present low cir- 


The first man to carry the Gospel to the Pioneers west of the 
Kittatinny or Blue Mountain.. 

cumstances, in order to promote the Gospel among them ; and 
likewise to visit the Indians, in case it could be done in safety, to 
know whether they were inclined to receive the Gospel." Accom- 
panied by a Christian Indian, he arrived in Carlisle August 15, 
having traveled 122 miles. From his journal : 

"Monday, August 18. — In the forenoon we were much engaged prepar- 
ing for our journey; sat out with Mr. Duffield. After riding about six 
miles we came to the North Mountain, which is high and steep. The day 
being very warm, and we obliged to walk, or rather climb up it, the 
greatest part of the way, were greatly fatigued by the time we reached the 
top. After traveling four miles into Sherman's Valley, we came, in 
the night, to Thomas Ross's, where we lodged." 


The statement that they came to the Ross home in the night is 
an example of the perils and discomforts which attended these 
early purveyors of the Word, for it must be remembered that they 
were unattended by any who knew the way and that roads were 
then unknown, the vast forests being broken only by trails and 

In the entry following Rev. Beatty tells of his visit to that tem- 
ple in the woods, not built by hands, but where for over a century 
historic Centre Presbyterian Church has stood and where it has 
ministered to a people who braved dangers untold to erect their 
homes in a land still a forest primeval, and to their descendants. 
He says : 

"Tuesday, 19th. — Rode four or five miles to a place in the woods, de- 
signed for building a house for worship, and preached, but io a small 
auditory; notice of our preaching not having been sufficiently spread. 
After sermon, I opened to the people present the principal design of the 
synod in sending us to them at this time ; that it was not only to preach 
the Gospel, but also to enquire into their circumstances, situation, num- 
bers, and ability to support it." 

"The people not being prepared to give us a full answer, promised to 
send it to Carlisle before our return. After sermon we proceeded on our 
way about five miles and lodged at Mr. Fergus's. The house where he 
lives was attacked by the Indians in the late war, the owner of it killed, 
and, if I am not mistaken, some others. While the Indians were pillaging 
the house and plantation, in order to carry off what suited them, a number 
of the countrymen armed came upon them ; a smart skirmish ensued, in 
which the countrymen had the better. The Indians were obliged to fly, and 
carried off their wounded, but left all their booty behind them." 

The place here referred to was the home of Alexander Logan, 
which was later occupied by Mr. Fergus. It is located near where 
Sandy Hill post office was later established, in Madison Township, 
and was long owned by George McMillen. From the Logan place 
the party traveled along the south foot of Conococheague Moun- 
tain, crossing it by the ravine north of Andersonburg, and mis- 
takenly calling it the Tuscarora Mountain. In passing down the 
north side they came to where Mohler's tannery was located in a 
succeeding generation, and crossed Liberty Valley via Bigham's 
Gap to the Tuscarora Valley, now in Juniata County. 

Just how the Gospel came to be first carried west of the Kitta- 
tinny Mountains is of interest to all. The origin of the missionary 
tour of Rev. Charles Beatty and Rev. George Duffield to the dis- 
tressed frontier, harassed by the Indians, and to the Indians them- 
selves, seems to have been an action of The Corporation for the 
Relief of Poor and Distressed Presbyterian Ministers of New 
York, as an extract from their minutes reads : 

"November 16, 1762. — At a meeting of the Corporation in the city, it 
was agreed that the board appoint some of their members to wait on the 
synod at their next meeting, and in their name request that some mis- 


sionaries be sent to preach to the distressed frontier inhabitants, and to 
report their distresses, and to let us know when new congregations are 
a forming, and what is necessary to be done to promote the spread of the 
Gospel among them, and that they inform us what opportunities there 
may be of preaching the Gospel to the Indian nations in their neighbor- 

It was then agreed that the necessary expenses of these missi 
aries be paid by this board. To many Perry Countian ^ y fee. 
a surprise that the Gospel was first carried to their courv 

After mentioning the beginning of Centre Church in 170 p QAd 
that of Dick's Gap about the same time, Rev. D. H. Focht, in .. 
valuable and painstaking volume, "The Churches Between the 
Mountains," says : "Besides these two instances we have not found 
a single reference to churches in Perry County (territory) until 
1790." He fails to mention the organization of the Upper Church 
at Blain at the same time, that Limestone Ridge (or Sam Fisher's 
Church") existed co incidentally, and that Dick's Gap joined with 
the Sherman's Creek Church as early as 1778 in calling Rev. 
Thorn, all of which were long prior to 1790. Farther back in his 
own book (page 286) he tells of the St. Michael's Lutheran 
Church in Pfoutz Valley being organized as early as 1770 to 1773, 
and of the purchase of their grounds February 15, 1776, on which 
they erected a building which they used for both school and church 
purposes, also long prior to 1790. This is not mentioned here in 
the way of criticism, but to correct a general misunderstanding 
that prevails by reason of the paragraph cited above, which is 
sometimes quoted. 

Early last century many of the Scotch-Irish had begun to move 
westward and the new population, coming in their wake and often 
purchasing their lands, was mostly of German extraction, whose 
religion was principally Lutheran and German Reformed. At 
first their services were almost exclusively in German, but gradu- 
ally were replaced with English. Then came the Methodist 
Church, with youth, zeal and earnestness, holding its meetings in 
homes and schoolhouses and conducting great camp meetings in 
the woods. Other denominations followed until to-day there are 
ten, eight of which have numerous churches, and of the remaining 
two one has two churches, and the other a single church. 

The Presbyterians had been holding services and building 
churches within the limits of what is now western Perry County 
for several decades before the advent of the Lutherans to any ex- 
tent, although the Lutherans of that section east of the Juniata, 
about 1770, were holding meetings and were about organizing St. 
Michael's Church, in Pfoutz Valley. Rev. Focht, in his "Churches 
Between the Mountains," says the Lutheran people were occa- 
sionally visited by ministers of their own churches before 1774, 


according to tradition, and that afterwards they enjoyed frequent 
visits from Rev. John G. Butler, who was pastor of the Lutheran 
Church of Carlisle from 1780 to 1788. Shortly after that Rev. 
John Timothy Kuhl, of Franklin County, began visiting the mem- 
bers in Sherman's Valley, and in 1790 he moved among them and 
became the first regular pastor, having a large field and preaching 
once every six weeks at each place. In an old document belonging 
to the congregation at Loysville, it is written: "In the year of our 
Lord 1790, the Germans in Sherman's Valley secured the Evan- 
gelical Lutheran minister, the Rev. John Timotheus Kuhl, as their 
pastor." Rev. Focht, in his volume, further says : "The late Mr. 
George Fleisher, of Saville Township, who died in 1855, aged 
eighty-four years, when nineteen years old, with a team moved 
Rev. Kuril's family and effects from Franklin County to this val- 
ley. Rev. Kuhl resided near where Loysville is now located. 
From the above documentary evidence, we infer that he visited and 
preached to the members scattered at various points in the whole 
valley. Before the erection of Lebanon Church at Loysville, he 
preached in barns and private dwellings at different places in that 
neighborhood. Encouraged by a minister living in their midst, 
and united in their desires and efforts, the membership proceeded, 
in 1794, to build a house of worship at Loysville, which they de- 
nominated Lebanon Church." The history of the building of that 
church appears further on. The George Fleisher referred to was 
the grandfather of the various heads of the Fleisher families lo- 
cated about Newport some years ago and yet, viz : George, John, 
Amos, Prof. Daniel, etc. 

There has never been a Catholic church in Perry County. 
While the canal was building, during 1827-28, services were held 
occasionally in homes, as the employees were largely Irish Catho- 
lics. Their number was occasionally reduced by a death, and they 
purchased from John Huggins a plot of ground on the lands lying 
close to Liverpool and opened a cemetery. There was hut one 
tombstone in it and it marked the grave of John Doyle, a hotel 
keeper. The Liverpool folks have known it as "the Irish ceme- 

With the settlement of both- English-speaking and German- 
speaking people in this territory the two languages were in general 
use, but the public business was conducted in English. The Ger- 
man element was loath to give up their language and, although 
their children were learning and speaking English, they contended 
against the preaching of the word in English in their churches. 
The most prominent example of this was that of Rev. John William 
Heim, pastor of the Loysville Lutheran Charge. When the West 
Pennsylvania Synod met at New Bloomfield in September, 1842, 
some of the ministers preached in the English language. Members 


of the congregation at Bloomfield — also a part of his charge — knew 
the necessity of introducing the English language and urged him 
to have an associate pastor who could preach in English. This he 
refused to do, with the result that an English Lutheran church 
was organized in June, 1844,- and held its meetings in the school- 
In uise, and later in the Presbyterian Church. This condition ex- 
isted until 1850, after the death of Rev. Heim, which occurred the 
previous year, when the two Lutheran churches were again put 
under one pastorate. But, as late as 1853 there was a requirement 
that one-third of the preaching should be in German. 

In the early years of settlement it was a common thing to travel 
long distances to church, over bridle paths and roads hardly worthy 
of the name. George and Alexander Johnston, of Toboyne Town- 
ship, the latter the father of Dr. A. R. Johnston, of New Bloom- 
field, were members of the United Presbyterian Church at Con- 
cord, Franklin County. They were born in 1802 and 1805, and 
died in 1872 and 1864, respectively, so that even to almost the 
middle of last century, it appears, it was not uncommon to travel 
a long way to divine worship. George W. Gehr, long a newspaper 
correspondent, tells of Elliottsburg citizens walking to New Bloom- 
field, before the building of the schoolhouse at Elliottsburg. in 
which the first services were held ; telling how the young ladies 
tripped along barefooted until they came to the gristmill site west 
of the county seat, where they put on shoes and hose and pro- 
ceeded to church. This was a custom in various parts of the 
county. H. E. Sheibley, editor of the Advocate, at New Bloom- 
field, recalls the time when his people attended the United Pres- 
byterian Church at Duncannon, making the ten-mile trip by car- 
riage. Ann West Gibson, the mother of the celebrated Chief Jus- 
tice Gibson, went from the Gibson mill, at the Spring-Carroll 
line, to Carlisle to attend the services of the Church of England 
(Episcopalian). In fact, many of the first pioneers crossed the 
Kittatinny to Carlisle to church before they had churches in their 

There seems to be a diminishing of the number of the little 
country churches which once dotted the wayside, as population 
seeks the great centres and since labor-saving machinery has made 
less labor requirements upon the farms ; and in many cases when 
one enters those that remain the attendance seems to be consid- 
erably less than in the years gone by. Of course families are also 
smaller, and the introduction of motor cars has also had its ef- 
fect, but the passing of these churches is indeed to be regretted. 
They were a leading factor in the breaking down of sectarianism, 
they fostered the best in life and were to newcomers in the com- 
munity a refuge from homesickness and loneliness. They were, 
along with being houses of worship, also, to the country just what 



the community centres are to the great cities. Men and women, 
boys and girls were better for having gone there, even if they 
were not members. By referring to the chapters in this book re- 
lating to the various townships it will be seen that here and there 
a church that once existed has gone. In several of the smaller 
towns there seems to have been too many denominations with the 
natural result that the population was insufficient to support them. 
Some strange facts stand out in the history of these earlier 
churches of Perry County. The Dick's Gap Church was supposed 


(An early Circuit Rider.) 
Mr. Gruber was born in 1778 and died in 1850. On 
February 22, 1838, he was married to Rachel (Gillespie) 
Martin, widow of Capt. Joseph Martin, whose bust 
appears elsewhere as "The Bride of a Century Ago." 

to be central from the northern boundary to the southern county 
line, as were also Blain (Upper Church) and Centre. Dick's Gap 
had tree stumps for seats. The Millerstown Presbyterian Church 
was organized in a bar room and often had services there. During 
"the twenties," the county's early days, a pastor of that church 
said "there was little or no vital Godliness." Middle Ridge Church 
was practically torn down and carried away by vandals. The 
church at the mouth of the Juniata (Presbyterian) was blown 
down by a windstorm. With large emigration westward, espe- 
cially by the Scotch-Irish element, the Presbyterian churches have 
traveled hard lines in the smaller communities, but seven out of 


thirteen now holding worship. Groves, homes, schoolhouses, and 
even barns were used for early meetings. Few churches have 
burned. Some have passed away through the loss of population 
in their respective settlements. Several have been removed and 
built elsewhere. Some have been flooded by high waters during 
river floods. 

The clergymen of Perry County are, as a rule, a zealous and in- 
dustrious body, and Sunday school work and the opposition to the 
liquor traffic has had their almost united enthusiastic support. 
Many of them have gone to larger and broader fields. For decades 
ministerial associations have been in existence in Newport and 
Duncannon, and in 1920 the Ministerial Association of Western 
Perry County was organized at Loysville with Rev. G. R. Heim, 
of Blain, as president, and Rev. F. H. Daubenspeck, of Ickesburg, 
as secretary. Rev. A. R. Longanecker, of Loysville, and Rev. E. 
V. Strasbaugh, of Blain, were much interested in its organization. 

The old-time prayer meeting will be remembered by many of 
the readers of this hook, and through the years they will see a 
vision of one and recall the kindly voice of a devout worshiper 
whose presence is no longer felt, but whose example in the com- 
munity is remembered to this day. Many years ago, Jacob Crist, 
one of the good and substantial citizens of New Bloomfield, wrote 
for the Perry Freeman a poem which is here reproduced in part, 
not for any especial literary value, but as a pen picture of an old- 
time prayer meeting : 



Only ihe aged ones can know 
<)f prayer meetings, long ago, 
How Christian men, and women too, 
Did worship God, sincere and true. 

Most happy and sincere they felt, 
When side by side in prayer they knelt ; 
Then rise and sing while one would lead, 
"Alas! and did my Saviour Bleed." 

Then one would lead in prayer again, 
Would read a chapter and explain. 
Then sing about that Crimson Flood, 
"There is a Fountain filled with Blood." 

And "Come Thou Fount" they all would sing 
And, "Children of the Heavenly King" 
And ofttimes sing that hymn of praise, 
"Awake my soul in joyful lays." 

Then kneeling down without delay 
In happy mood they all would pray, 
Then sing some brother's favorite choice 
With cheering sound, and strengthened voice. 


And Cennick's hymn, in highest tone, 
"Jesus, my all to heaven is gone"; 
Then too, well nigh beyond control, 
Sing "Jesus, lover of my soul." 

Then for the mourners all would pray, 
That Christ would wash their sins away ; 
Then rise and make their voices ring, 
"O for a thousand tongues to sing." 

The "mourners' bench" was always there, 
Where penitents would kneel for prayer, 
And Christians would with talk sincere, 
Encourage them to persevere. 

And Jones' invitation hymn, 
Which is pathetic and sublime ; 
"Come, humble sinner, in whose breast" 
Was sung and anxious souls were blest. 

One custom then, seems no more so, 
Then men and women both would go ; 
Now women mostly do attend. 
While men their evening elsewhere spend. 

Schoolhouses then were Bethels true, 
And men did not object thereto; 
The fuel too was not refused. 
But during winter, freely used. 

Lit candles hung around the wall, 
Would dimly shine within the hall, 
And ofttimes when they shone too dim, 
Some brother would with snuffers trim. 

Oft when the meeting knelt to pray, 
Bad boys would laugh, and talk and play, 
And then the leader would complain 
About their want of sense and brain. 

Sometimes his strictures were severe, 
And sometimes earnest and sincere ; 
But boys are boys, as they are yet, 
And good advice would soon forget. 

Near ten, the leader would propose 
To bring the meeting to a close ; 
Then rise and sing — ere they would go — - 
"Praise God, from whom all blessings flow." 

Outside the girls would find their beaux 
Where they would stand each side in rows, 
And when some one would get the "fling," 
Then cheers and laughs and whoops would ring. 

Soon would the people homeward go, 
S<»me better, others so and so, 
And thus repeat it o'er and o'er 
Or find excuse to go no more, 



Centre Presbyterian Church. This is the oldest church site still 
in regular use in Perry County. It was the first church organiza- 
tion in the territory, but the old Dick's Gap Church, shrouded 
more or less in mystery, is supposed to have been erected first, al- 
though in an uncompleted state as late as 1798. On September 9, 
1766, Thomas Ross, John Byers, Edward Allet, John Hamilton, 


This was the first Communion Service of "the Church at the Mouth of the 
Juniata," now the Duncannon Presbyterian Church, the history of which ap- 
pears in the chapter relating to Duncannon. Official records of this church 
appear as early as 1804. 

and Hugh Alexander, in trust for the congregation at Tyrone, in 
Tyrone Township, took up the land-- upon which the church 
stands. They were surveyed April 17. 1767. The incorporating 
charter is signed by Governor William Findley, March 24, 1819. 
The grounds originally contained over seven acres, set with a fine 
stand of majestic oaks, many of which still stand. The old Centre 
school stood on the tract as does a parsonage and a home for the 



sexton. In the graveyard, with an extant (if several acres, are tomb- 
stones bearing dates as early as 1766. It is the last resting place 
of heroic and prominent people. The church is in the midst of 
the most historic section of Perry County, in itself being the most 
historic of the religions organizations. About the old church 
building there stood on guard two members of the flock with guns 
while the rest worshiped, as protection against the stealthy en- 
croachment of Indians. Worshipers came carrying their guns, 
ready for any attack. 

The trustees of Centre Church in 1819, when it was chartered, 
were John Linn, John Creigh, Thomas Purely, William McClure, 
Charles Elliott, Samuel McCord, David Coyle, Robert Elliott, and 
Samuel A. Anderson. 

I11 1767 the first church was erected of logs, with dovetailed 
corners. There were no arrangements for fire, even in severe 
weather. Two services were held on Sunday and lunches were 
brought along by the attendants who remained for the second serv- 
ice. As early as 1760 there had been requests for a preacher to 
the Donegal Presbytery, but the churches were not organized. 
However, preachers were sent. In '1766 the Presbyterian churches 
of Sherman's Valley asked for organization, and the Missionary 
Board of the Presbyterian Church sent Rev. Charles Beatty to 
visit the frontier settlements. (See previous pages.) 

In 1793 a stone church was erected in place of the log structure. 
It is said that some of the logs of this first church still are a part 
of the barn on the old Wormley farm, below Waggoner's. The 
third church was built in 1850, to which has since been added the 
Sunday school section. The entire church has also been remodeled 
several times. 

After some investigation three churches were organized, as fol- 
lows: the old Dick's Cap Church, Centre Church, and Blain, then 
called the Upper Church. April 14, 1767, Presbytery approved it. 
The "Limestone Church" (Samuel Fisher's), near Green Park, 
had already been partly erected, but Presbytery refused to organ- 
ize it on account of it being too near Centre Church. In 1772. 
however, the request was granted and it. with Centre and Upper 
(also sometimes called Toboyne) united in a call to Rev. William 
Thorn, but he declined. No pastor was secured until 1778, when 
Rev. John Linn was installed and remained until his death in 1820. 
In the meantime the "Limestone" Church was abandoned and in 
1823 the congregation at Landishurg was organized. A Rev. Gray 
filled in as a supply for several years. From 1826 to 183 1 Rev. 
James M. Olmstead was pastor of the Upper churches. From 
183 1 to 1836 Rev. Lindley C. Rutter served, followed by Rev. 
Nelson until 1842. Rev. George D. Porter followed in 1844 and 
remained until 185 1, also preaching for the Millerstown church. 


Rev. George S. Ray, a supply, rilled in until 1854, when Landis- 
burg joined in with Centre and Blain. Then came Lewis Wil- 
liams, who was pastor until he died in 1857. Rev. John H. Clark- 
served 1857-62, and Rev. J. H. Ramsey 1863-67. 

Blain then united with Ickesburg. Centre and Landisburg called 
Rev. Robert McPherson, who remained until 1881. It was sup- 
plied until 1883, when Rev. John H. Cooper filled the place until 
1885, first as stated supply, then as pastor. 

From 1867 until the present time — a period covering more than 
a halt -century — Centre Church has had but six ministers, the sixth 
being the present pastor, as follows : 

1868-81 —Rev. R. M. McPherson. 
1883-85 — Rev. John H. Cooper. 
1887-1910 — Rev. Win. M. Burchfield. 
[910-14 ■ — Rev. George H. Miksch. 
1915-17 —Rev. Hugh R. Magill, M.D. 
1919 —Rev. Carl G. H. Ettlich. 

During the pastorate of Rev. Burchfield, in 1895, Landisburg, 
Blain (or Upper Church), and Buffalo (near Ickesburg) were 
detached from Centre Church. 

Of the "old stone church," built in 1793, Rev. William A. West, 
who wrote the History of the Presbytery of Carlisle, said : "The 
writer remembers well its appearance in his boyhood days, when 
he enjoyed the annual treat of a visit at his maternal grandfather's, 
close by. In style, in appearance, and in arrangement it was like 
nearly all the stone churches of that day." Rev. D. H. Focht, in 
his "Churches Between the Mountains," says that "the old church 
building was not erected until 1793," but fails to state that that was 
the second church to be erected there. 

Blain Presbyterian Church. The question of locating the first 
Presbyterian churches in the territory which now comprises Perry 
County came up at Donegal Presbytery's meeting April 24, 1766, 
and the committee sent to "reconnoitre" reported that there ought 
to be a church at Alexander Morrow's or James Blaine's (where 
there was already a graveyard) for the upper end of the valley, 
and one at George Robinson's for the centre." The people of the 
upper end erected their church near James Blaine's, near where 
the "Upper Church" still stands, and adjoining the graveyard 
spoken of. This James Blaine was the father of Ephraim Blaine, 
the Perry Countian who was Commissary General during the 
Revolutionary W r ar, and from him descended that great statesman, 
|"ames G. Blaine, younger generations adding an "e" to' the name. 
See chapter in this book entitled The Blaine Family. 

The early records of this church are missing, but according to 
the annals of Presbytery and early historical records there was an 
organized congregation where Blain now stands as early as 1767, 


in which year it united in a call with the churches at Centre and 
Dick's Cap to Presbytery for recognition and the services of a 
pastor. There is no evidence of the erection of a church then and 
the meetings, as they were known, were likely held in the homes. 
September 8, 1772, it united with Centre and "Sam Fisher's 
Church" ("Limestone" Church, near Green Park) in extending a 
call to Rev. William Thom to become pastor, hut he did not accept. 
They probably hack a building by this time. In 1777 they called 
Rev. John Linn, and from then to 1868 its pastors were the same 
as those of Centre Church. ( See preceding pages.) In that 
year the Blain and Ickeshurg churches united to form a charge. 
Rev. |. |. Hamilton, residing in Saville Township, was pastor 
from [869-75; Lev. Robt. McPherson, stated supply. 1877-81, 
and Rev. J. II. Cooper, residing in Blain, in 1884-85. Following 
Rev. Cooper, Rev. \Ym. Burchfield was pastor of this church, 
Buffalo (near Ickeshurg), Centre, and Landishurg, from 1887 to 
[895, when Centre became a separate charge, Rev. Burchfield con- 
tinuing until 1910. It then became known as the Landishurg 
charge. The minister resided in that town. The pastors were: 

1896-97 — Rev. Hugh G. Moody, stated supply. 
1898-1902 — Rev. A. F. Lott. 
1904- — Rev. Will H. Dyer. 

Following that period the regular pastors of Centre Church were 
again in charge, as follows: 

1910-14 — Rev. George H. Miksch. 
1915-17— Rev. Hugh R. Magill. 

During 1920-21 Rev. Carl G. II. Ettlich, pastor of Centre 
Church, was the stated supply pastor. In 1921 the Church Hill 
Cemetery Association was chartered and took over all the prop- 
erty of the church, which, as an organization, will cease to exist. 
Through removals and deaths the membership of the Upper 
(Blain) Church had become very weak and the Presbytery had 
proposed selling the same, which resulted in the incorporation of 
this cemetery association, the incorporators being James A. Noel, 
II. M. Hall, Dr. A. R. Johnston, and others. The church will be 
kept in repair for occasional meetings. This is a step in the right 
direction. These old landmarks should he preserved, as nearly as 
possible, in their original state. 

The first church was a long, low, log building near the school- 
house on "Church Hill." The present church, built long ago, 
stands adjoining a small grove. While there is no evidence ob- 
tainable yet, one is inclined to believe that this lot was given for 
church purposes by James Blain, who warranted the tract in 1765 
on which it is located, as the application for recognition by the 
Presbytery is dated early the next year, April 14, 1766. 


"Limestone Church." There was an early Presbyterian church 
located at Green Park, being located on the site of the old burying 
ground on the John Garlin farm. It was known as the "Lime- 
stone" or "Lower Church," and sometimes as "Sam Fisher's 
Church." and its people formed the first organization in 1766, but 
the Presbytery declined to give it regular standing on account of 
its nearness to Centre Church. The meetinghouse lot contained 
thirty-six acres, and it was surveyed in 1768. A log church was 
erected and after continuous appeals Presbytery consented June 
24, 1772, and this church. Centre Church, and the Upper churches 
called Rev. William Thorn, but he declined. Supply ministers 
then filled in until 1777, when a call was tendered Rev. John Linn, 
who was installed in June, 1778. He was in charge until his death 
in 1820. This church had been abandoned, however, before his 
death, and its place was filled by the organization of the Landis- 
burg church a few years later. It is known in some records as 
"Same Fisher's Church," as it was located upon a thirty-six-acre 
plot which he took up for church purposes. It is about six miles 
below Centre Church. In this old cemetery sleep the Fulwilers, 
Fosters, Neilsons, McClures, and other noted families. 

Dick's Cap. According to all records and to tradition the old 
Dick's Gap Church, in Miller Township, Perry County, was one 
of the first churches to be erected within the borders of what is 
now Perry County, if it could be called a church. It was built of 
logs, but for over thirty years was not filled between the logs with 
mortar. It is said to have had an old-fashioned clapboard roof and 
no floor, the attendants sitting on stumps and logs. 

Rev. John Edgar, who wrote a history of the Presbyterian 
churches of Perry County, made a careful search of all records, 
and considerable information is drawn from his research. 

The pioneer settlers of Sherman's Valley, which includes prac- 
tically all of the county lying west of the Juniata River, asked 
Donegal Presbytery for ministerial instruction in 1760. Six years 
later they again appealed to the same source for church organiza- 
tion. Both appeals were answered. After visits by several pio- 
neer preachers three churches were organized, as follows: Dick's 
Gap, which was located four miles east of New Bloomfield and 
three miles west of Bailey's Station, on the present line of the 
Pennsylvania Railroad ; Centre Church, the present site of the 
same organization, and the Upper Church, at Blain. Presbytery 
approved this arrangement on April 14. 1767, and these churches 
remained under the supervision of Donegal Presbytery until the 
organization of the Carlisle Presbytery, October 17, 1786. 

Dick's Gap was contemporary with the two upper churches 
named above and joined the Sherman's Creek Church in call- 
ing ;i pastor at the same time as the upper churches called the 


Rev. John Linn. The Dick's Gap Church called Rev. Hugh Magill 
in 1777. and the Sherman's Creek Church called him in 1778. He 
refused to preach during 1777-78-79, and Presbytery all the while 
sent supplies to these two churches. Among these supplies were 
Rev. John 1 foge, Rev. Waugh, Rev. William Linn, Rev. John 
Linn, Rev. Cooper, Rev. Henderson, Rev. Johnson, Rev. Mc- 
Mordie. Rev. Caldwell, Rev. Wilson, Rev. Speer, and Rev. Mc- 
Lane. Near the beginning of the last century Dick's Cap Church 
was abandoned and Middle Ridge Church took its place. 

The church was 18x20 in size, and its exact site is to-day a mat- 
ter of question. It is described shortly after the half of the last 
century had fled as being in "an unenclosed graveyard, in which 
trees of great age are growing near to and even upon graves, and 
many graves are covered with boulders, seemingly to prevent rav- 
ages of wolves." 

Mrs. Jane Black, mother of the late Isaac G. Black, of Dun- 
cannon, remembered this old church in 1797, when still in an un- 
finished state; built of pine logs, the spaces between the logs were 
not filled, but she also recollected that in 1798 a coat of mud plaster 
remedied that. It was, she says, roofless — wherein she differs from 
other accounts — and she remembers that her grandfather, John 
Graham, and Robert Johnson, were two of the elders, having 
heard that they dated back to about 1773, and they were still liv- 
ing in her time. Mrs. Black was born June 3, 1790, and was 
a daughter of John Stewart, who resided near "the Loop" of 
Sherman's Creek. She died May 1, 1881, in Philadelphia, at the 
home of her son, Isaac G. Black. To her memory posterity is in- 
debted for many of the few facts relating to this early church. 
She became a church member in 1805, but her memory dated back 
to when she was about seven, when she went with her mother and 
her grandfather, John Graham, who was an elder, to communion 
services in the old church. This must have been about J797- 
Within the church, which was without floor, the stumps of trees 
had been allowed to remain, and on these were placed split logs 
for seats. This church was a regularly organized one, but the only 
pastor ever called did not accept. The History of Presbytery 
shows it had very little nucleus and no growth. 

According to Mrs. Black she went to church on horseback, rid- 
ing behind her mother, while her grandfather would lead her horse 
by the bridle, passing through "Dick's Gap Trail." She recalled 
being told by her people that in earlier years guards were stationed 
outside the church to be on the lookout for Indians. Long lines 
of people came on horseback, often two on a horse. 

The consensus of opinion is that the old church stood to the east 
or left of the present Church of God, and somewhat nearer the 
rids-e which runs in the rear of the church. The mother of George 


Barrick, of Newport, who lived to a ripe old age, and who died 
almost a half century ago, remembered when the church still stood, 
and gave its location as being near where the present Church of 
God stands. There is a gap in the ridge known as Dick's Hill, 
which probably accounts for the name Dick's Gap. It has long 
since ceased to be known by that name, and is now called Pine 
Grove, an unfortunate change in the eyes of those historically in- 
clined. On account of a man by the name of Stingle warranting 
land near by and building a sawmill, it had been known as Stingle's 
( kip 

As early as 1793 the church on Sherman's Creek was one of 
three churches — the other two being Dick's Gap and the one at the 
mouth of the Juniata — which were supplied pastors by Presbytery. 
The Sherman's Creek Church was so close that it drew support 
from the one at Dick's Gap. In the meantime almost all of the 
communicants lived long distances to the north, and they built 
Middle Ridge Church in 1804, having organized the previous year. 
Thus abandoned Dick's Gap day of usefulness passed with the 
ending of 1803. It stood for some years, an abandoned pile of logs. 
It is said that Marcus Hidings, the pioneer, and his wife, lie 
buried in the surrounding graveyard. According to tradition an 
old Indian trail led by this church, which is probably true, as these 
pioneers seemed to follow the trails of the departing race. Tra- 
dition says also that there are graves of both traders and Indians 
there. There is no way of proving the latter statement and it is 
left to the reader to conjecture. 

The church was built upon lands warranted by Nicholas Robi- 
son, in 1766, according to Rev. Focht's "Churches Between the 
Mountains." According to Mr. T. W. Campbell, a native and 
resident of the neighborhood, the old Indian trail is supposed to 
have passed by the site of Charles O. Houck's home, at the foot of 
Dick's Hill, on the Newport-Duncannon road, the residence once 
having been an old tavern but converted into a dwelling by Mr. 
Houck's ancestors. Rev. Focht erred in stating "by whom or for 
whom it was built it is now impossible to say," as there are many 
records to show that it was of the Presbyterian faith. The cover- 
ing of the graves with stones does not prove that they are Indian 
-raves, as there is record that the pioneers used that method in 
order to keep them from molestation by wolves. 

There are some things about this old church that are hard to 
understand. If it was built in 1767 why was it not "chunked and 
daubed" between the logs until 1798, and why was it yet roofless 
in 1797? Both these statements were made by Mrs. Black, a repu- 
table and religious woman, and are evidently true, yet they nat- 
urally cause inquisitiveness. That a people would meet in that 
kind of a building for over thirty years, without giving it even 


the ordinary advantages which their homes possessed is indeed 
strange. Might it have been that they early saw their error of 
location and in the following years used it only as a sort of cam]) 
meeting place during the summer months? From the silence of 
the long departed years there comes no voice to tell us. 

Shermansdale Presbyterian Church, The date of organization 
and early history of Sherman's Creek Presbyterian Church — the 
forerunner of the Shermansdale Church — are enveloped in ob- 
scurity. In all probability the location of the church at Dick's ( iap, 
in 1767, was meant to suffice for the lower end of that part of 
Perry County lying west of the Juniata. The language of the 
committee conveys that thought. In October, 1777, a call from. 
Dick's Cap went 'to Rev. Hugh McGill. When its acceptance was 
being considered the following spring the name of the Sherman's 
Creek Church first appears in the minutes of Presbytery (1778), 
in regard to the proportion of his time each should have. Accord- 
ing to these minutes the two churches are referred to as "the united 
congregations of Dick's Gap and Sherman's Creek." In 1779 Rev. 
McGill reported to Presbytery "on account of a disagreement in 
his congregation respecting the places of public worship, and his 
apprehension of their inability to support him," he desired to re- 
linquish his call. A noteworthy fact is that from then on the 
Sherman's Creek Church asked for supplies independently. 

Just when the first church was built is a mystery, but it was 
located between Fio Forge and Dellville (on the Charles Zeigler 
farm), where an old graveyard marks the site. There rests Swiss- 
helm, said to have been a squatter on the Zorger farm. A brown 
stone, on which the name is still legible, marks his grave. The 
church was sometimes referred to as Swisshelm's. Various vol- 
umes mark the date as 1804, but that date is wrong, as the follow- 
ing facts will show: Owing to the congregation's place of worship 
being close to that of "the church at the mouth of the Juniata" 
(the forerunner of the Duncannon Presbyterian Church), in 1801, 
there is record of its being moved, first to Boyd's, now known as 
the Matlack farm, and in 1802 "to Swisshelm's," now the Adam 
Zorger property. Tradition has it that at these first two locations, 
at the graveyard in the Zeigler field, and at Boyd's fording, at the 
Matlack farm, were built small places of worship. On October 8, 
1802, "verbal application was made to Presbytery for supplies 
every month to preach at the house of John Fitzhelm (Swiss- 
helm)." In 1804, at Pine Hill, about one hundred yards from 
Sherman's Creek, and two and a half miles east of their present 
church, a log church was erected. There this people worshiped 
until 1843, when the church was taken down and the best of its 
material used in the erection of the present church. There, in an 
old graveyard, rest the Wests, Smileys, Hendersons, and others. 


This church is located a half mile north of Shermansdale, upon 
lands donated by William Smiley. The congregation was incor- 
porated by an act of the Pennsylvania Legislature dated April 
16, 1829. 

The church was served altogether by supplies until 1804, when 
Rev. Joseph Brady was installed, on October 3, his call including 
the churches at the mouth of the Juniata and Middle Ridge, which 
comprised one charge until Middle Ridge was abandoned in 1841. 
He served until his death, which occurred April 24, 1 821, being 
pastor when the county was organized. Rev. John Noblock 
served from 1826 to 1830. Rev. Matthew B. Patterson was pastor 
from 1831 to 1853, and Hezekiah Hanson, from 1854 to 1856. 
Then, from 1857 to 1867 Rev. William B. Craig served the Sher- 
mansdale church and the New Bloomfield church, with which it 
had been united. Then Duncannon and Shermansdale were sepa- 
rated from New Bloomfield, and Rev. William Thompson was 
called in 1868 and remained until 1873, when Duncannon was 
separated from it. Rev. S. A. Davenport was pastor from 1878 
to 1880, before and after which it was filled by supplies, two of 
which were Rev. J. J. Hamilton and Rev. J. A. Murray, D.D. For 
one year, covering 1883-84, Rev. J. C. Garver, of the Landisburg 
charge, was pastor, since which time the pastors have been the 
same as those of the New Bloomfield church, with which it is 
united. See New Bloomfield chapter. 

Middle Ridge Church. Dick's Gap Church, in Miller Township, 
was, according to all available records, one of the first churches 
located in what is now Perry County. When services were no 
longer held there Middle Ridge replaced it. The organization was 
effected in 1803, and the church built in 1804. In that year (1803) 
Rev. Joseph Brady was called to the charge, which included this 
church and the ones at the mouth of the Juniata (Baskins') and 
Sherman's Creek (Swisshelm's). He was installed in October, 
1804, and served until his death in 1821, being buried in the Pres- 
byterian cemetery which occupies the bluff above northern Dun- 

Supplies were then sent by Presbytery, among them being Rev. 
Gray, who served Centre and Middle Ridge for six months, cov- 
ering one winter. In November, 1826, Rev. John Niblock was 
installed and served until his death, which occurred in August, 
1830, at the age of thirty-two years. His remains lie buried in the 
Middle Ridge graveyard, near the corner of the old church foun- 
dation. During January, 1831, Rev. Matthew Patterson began 
supplying the three churches, and in November was installed as 
their regular pastor. He filled the position until April 13, 1842, 
when the membership had dwindled and Presbytery dissolved the 
congregation and directed the membership to unite with New 



Bloomfield or Millerstown, which churches had come into exist- 
ence in the meantime. 

When the church was no longer used by the Presbyterians, the 
Associate Reformed people — known as the seceders — began wor- 
shiping in it and continued to do so until i860. While the Pres- 
byterians held their services there they were attended by folks 
from as far as New Bloomfield, Millerstown, and other equally 
distant points. There is an authentic account of young folks com- 
ing from New Bloomfield on horseback to catechize, among them 
being Eve, a daughter of John and Catharine (Lesh) Smith. On 
their arrival Samuel Leiby, a youth, helped the fair Miss Smith 
from her horse, and his gallantry won him a wife, who became 
the maternal ancestor of the prominent Leiby families of Perry 
County. By an act of the Pennsylvania Legislature of April 16, 
1829, the churches at Middle Ridge, the mouth of the Juniata, and 
Sherman's Creek were incorporated. The trustees were urged to 
sell the building, but failed to do so, and no longer in use, it be- 
came the object of marauders, who tore out and carried off pews, 
tore the doors from their hinges, and even removed a part of the 
roof. The stove had been loaned to the school board and was 
destroyed when the schoolhouse was burned. Every vestige, save 
the foundation, has gone to decay. 

The mode of journeying to the old church was either on foot 
or horseback. Behind the husband often rode the wife, and per- 
haps a small child, and in many cases a mother rode with a small 
child in her arms. Naturally those residing at the greatest dis- 
tances started first, and as they passed others joined, crossroads 
contributing large delegations. Traveling two abreast they fre- 
quently arrived in great troops from different directions. The 
services were held twice each Sunday, the first one in the morning 
and the other in the early afternoon, lunches being carried along 
to be eaten during the intervening period. Later "the Tilburry," 
a two- wheeler, came into vogue, and a few were in use by at- 

When Rev. Edgar, to whose historic articles we are indebted 
for no little material used in our descriptions along religious lines, 
was a resident of the county, a Miss Black, of Millerstown, sent 
him a relic of that early period. It is described by him as "a little, 
oblong piece of metal, marked 'M. R.,' and distributed to the 
members a day or two before communion, to entitle them to a 
place at the sacramental table." 

This church was, originally, well founded and substantial. 
When the call was sent Rev. Brady in 1803, it offered sixty pounds 
for one-third of his services. Sherman's Creek Church and the 
church at the mouth of the Juniata offered fifty pounds each, later 
raising the amounts to sixty. 

(Out- of the best men I ever knew.) 

In almost every community throughout the county there were men 
and women whose constancy and zeal never laxed, and whose com- 
munities were marked by their noble lives. Such a man was Jacob 

Buck, born October 9, i S 1 5 , whose death occurred February 20, 1907. 
The grandson of an original pioneer after whom Buck's Valley was 
named he early followed the Master and for long years was class 
leader of the United Brethren congregation which worshiped at Buck's 
Church, and superintendent of the Sunday School. "Grandfather 
Buck," as everybody knew him, was widely known over the eastern 
third of Terry County for much of his life, over 91 years. 


There was an early Sabbath school started here in 1823 or 1824, 
which was well attended. Its first, superintendent was Ralph 
Smiley, an unmarried man, and the owner of Fravel's mill, south 
of Witherow's, whose remains lie interred in the old graveyard at 
New Bloomfield. 

The Gap Church. There was an early church located in Half 
Falls Mountain (".a]), erected about 1780, near a beautiful spring, 
on lands which were vacant until near the middle of last century. 
It is supposed to have been burned down in 1800. Professor 
Wright, the historian, states that "the foundation stones may still 
be seen (1880) and the spot recognized." There was no grave- 
yard there. The existence of this church has been questioned, 
but Mrs. William Kumler, all her life a resident of the immediate 
vicinity, was told of it by her aunt, Mrs. Mary Baird, who de- 
scribed how they used to ride to and from the church there on 
horseback, which substantiates its existence. 

That this church really existed, although it has been questioned, 
is further attested by a statement of I. E. Stephens, a life-time 
resident of Bucks Valley, Buffalo Township, who says: "The peo- 
ple in an early day worshiped in a church situated on the top of 
Half Falls Mountain. It was used by the inhabitants of Buck's 
Valley and those of Watts Township. This church was destroyed 
by fire in 1800." Learning of its existence from an old resident 
Mr. Stephens soon found himself at the mountain top, on the road 
leading from Buck's Valley to New Buffalo. At the township 
line, on the crest of the mountain, stands a large oak tree. Taking 
thirty steps due west, and then thirty due south, he found the 
remnant of the old foundation, through which now runs a wood 

Judging the matter by deduction, it is to be presumed that there 
was an earlier church than either Buck's Church, in Buck's Valley, 
or the old Union Church at the Hill, in Watts Township, for there 
was an early religious spirit pervading the community in the very 
early years and, not far from this location, at the Richard Baird 
place (at the forks of the road near the Richard Callin residence), 
was started one of the first Sunday schools in Perry County. 
Further deduction is possible, for Rev. Focht, in his "Churches 
Between the Mountains," says this primitive Gap Church was 
burned down "about the beginning of the century." From his 
volume it is also to be learned that a graveyard already existed 
where the Hill Church now stands, and that the first church there 
was built during the period from 1804 to 1809. If the Gap Church 
existed and burned about that time, its replacement in the com- 
munity at another and better location within a very few years 
would be logical. Rev. Focht names Rev. Mathias Guntzel and 
Rev. John Herbst, Lutheran ministers, as preaching there, the 


former from about 1789 to 1796, and the latter from 1796 for a 
few years. 

St. Michael's Lutheran Church. When the land office opened in 
1755 there were at least three Germans who warranted lands in 
Pfoutz Valley. In the succeeding years many others followed, 
and thus that section of Perry County became the pioneer Lu- 
theran community of the county and had the first regularly organ- 
ized congregation. Shortly after the expeditions of the Indians, 
which ceased in 1764, they were visited by ministers who held 
occasional services. Then, some time between 1770 and 1773 the 
congregation was regularly organized. Baptismal records date 
hack to October, 1774. Rev. Michael Enderlin then being the pas- 
tor, and remaining such until April, 1789. This was the seventh 
congregation to organize in what is now Perry County, and the 
first outside of the Presbyterian faith. The deed to the church 
grounds, dated February 15, 1776, reads in part as follows: 

"This Indenture, made the fifteenth day of February, in the year of our 
Lord, one thousand, seven hundred and seventy-six, by and between John 
Fonts, of Greenwood Township, in Cumberland County, and Province of 
Pennsylvania, of the one part, and John Long and Philip Huber and the 
whole Lutheran congregation of the township, county and province afore- 
said, of the other part." 

While the person who wrote the deed wrote the name "Fouts," 
yet inscribed the signature is plainly Pfautz — now spelled Pfoutz. 
It was recorded at Carlisle, June 13, 1788. 

Prior to the deed's execution a large schoolhouse had been 
erected upon the grounds, and in it the early settlers worshipped 
from 1770 until 1798, as the building was their property. After 
the last incursion of the Indians in 1763, when many of the resi- 
dents of this section were cruelly massacred, and prior to the 
erection of the school buildings services were held in the homes. 
It was on these grounds that these victims were buried, before 
either school building or church was there. Fearing surprise from 
the Indians when funerals were held the men carried their guns. 
They also came to church services carrying their guns. At that 
time the surrounding cemetery was the only one in the valley. 
Tradition tells of pioneers being tied to the hickory tree (now 
gone) at the corner of the church land and made targets for the 
deadly arrows of the red skins. It is said that the graveyard was 
started by the interment of their bodies. In "The Churches Be- 
tween the Mountains," Rev. D. H. Focht says : "No graveyard, 
and no place of worship in Perry Count)-, is as old as this," which 
he evidently later found to be incorrect, as his introduction gives 
the credit for the first congregations to Centre and Dick's Gap. 
From the same authority it is learned that "on the 19th of March, 
in the year 1798, the church edifice was erected, and on the 25th 


of May, 1800, the church was consecrated," the services being in 
German. It was a log building, about 35x45 feet in size, with a 
gallery on three sides. The pulpit was high and supported by a 
post, and the seat- had high and erect backs. The organ was on the 
gallery fronting the pulpit, and was not used as late as 1820, having 
become ruined. This old church stood until 1847, when it was re- 
placed by a new one. In 1802 the congregation purchased an addi- 
tional acre of ground from John Long for one dollar. Witli no 
free school system in sight, it appears the proceeds of the land 
were to go towards the support of the schoolmaster, who was also 
to lead the singing in the church and play the organ. For many 
years a congregational school was maintained there. The min- 
isters were : 

1774-89 — Rev. Michael Enderlin. 
1789-1800 — Rev. Matthias Guntzel. 
1800-04 — R ev - John Herbst. 
1805-14 — Rev. J. Conrad Walter. 
1815-33 — R ev - John William Heim. 

During the pastorate of Rev. Walter, Rev. George Heim was 
his assistant. Other ministers conducted baptismal and other cere- 
monies during these years, but a careful perusal of Rev. Focht's 
book will not show them as regular pastors, although a number of 
historians have so stated. Then followed : 

1833-35 — 'Rev. C. G. Erlenmeyer. 

1 83 5 -42 — Vac ant. 

1842-43 — Rev. Andrew Berg. 

1843-47 — Vacant. 

1847-51 — Rev. William Weaver. 

Rev. Weaver found but three members of the congregation left, 
but immediately began a movement for building a new church. At 
a congregational meeting in March, 1847, a building committee 
was appointed, consisting of David Kepner, Joseph Ulsh, Fred- 
erick Reinhard, John Ulsh, and George Beaver. The carpenter 
work was contracted for at $680, and the masonry done separately. 
The corner stone was laid in June, and in the fall it was dedicated. 
Rev. Weaver resigned in 185 1, and the pastorate was vacant until 
October, 1856. Pastors since then have been: 

1856-59 — Rev. Josiah Zimmerman. 
1859-61 — Rev. Jacob A. Hackenber^cr. 
1861-62— Rev. William O. Wilson. 

In April, 1862, it became attached to the Liverpool charge, since 
which time the ministers have been the same. See Liverpool 

Lebanon Lutheran Church. In 1790 the Lutherans were organ- 
ized at Loysville by Rev. John Timothy Kuhl, who that year began 


visiting the different sections of Sherman's Valley in the interests 
of that denomination. Rev. Kuril's family came from Path Val- 
ley, and George Fleisher, of Saville Township, who died -in 1855, 
aged eighty-four years, hauled their household goods over the 
mountains, he being then a boy of nineteen. Private homes and 
barns were the scenes of many of these early meetings. Martin 
Bernheisel and Michael Loy donated two acres and forty-two 
perches of laud in 1794 for the erection of a church and school 
building. The building was about 30x40 in size, and in 1808 
was weatherboarded and painted white, from that time on being 
known as "the white church." John Calhoun superintended the 
building and a building committee consisted of Michael Loy, 
George Hammer and Peter Sheibley. While the majority of the 
congregation were Lutherans yet the Reformed denomination was 
an equal owner. It was in use until 1850. 

March 2, 185 1, a new church was dedicated, the pastors then 
being Rev. F. Ruthrauff, Lutheran, and Rev. C. H. Leinbach, Re- 
formed. Its construction was of brick and its cost about six thou- 
sand dollars. In 1883 it was remodeled at a cost of about $2,500. 

Rev. Kuhl served as pastor until 1796. The following five years 
Rev. John Herbst, of Carlisle, acted as supply. Then came Rev. 
Frederick Sanno, and later Rev. John Frederick Osterloh, who 
resided on a farm in Saville Township and also occupied the pul- 
pits at New Bloomfield, St. Peter's (Spring Township), and Fish- 
ing Creek (Rye Township). In May, 1815, Rev. John William 
Heim became pastor, and until 1828 his pastorate included not 
only almost all of Perry County, but all of Juniata and Mifflin. 
In that year he moved to Loysville and died there on December 
27, 1849. 

After Rev. Heim's death Sherman's Valley was divided into 
three charges, the Upper Circuit including Loysville (Lebanon) 
church, Zion, St. Peter's, and Ludolph's (Little Germany). The 
middle, or Bloomfield charge, to include also Ickesburg, Shuman's, 
Bealor's, and Newport, and the lower, or Petersburg charge, to in- 
clude that church, Pisgah, Fishing Creek, Billow's, and New 

The congregation at Loysville had built a parsonage and bought 
fifteen acres of land as early as 1828. While Rev. Heim was 
pastor as early as 181 5, he did not reside in Loysville until this 
parsonage was built, and he then gave up his appointments in Mif- 
flin County. While pastor here he found time and money where- 
with to purchase a farm and erect a gristmill. In 1833 he gave 
ui) the congregations east of the Juniata so that they might be 
formed into a separate charge, and in 1835 he gave up those in 
Juniata County for a similar reason. In 1842 he still had eight 
churches in Perry County. 


The church erected in 1851 was used jointly by the Lutherans 
and Reformed faiths until 1909, when a separation took place, the 
interest of the Lutherans having been purchased by the Reformed 
people, who still use the edifice. In that year the Lutherans 
erected a new church, known as the Tressler Memorial Church, 
the cost of which was v$ 16,000. Its seating capacity is live hun- 
dred, and it is one of the finest churches in the county. 

Until 1850 the services were held entirely in German, hut in that 
year Rev. Frederick Ruthrauff began preaching alternately in Eng- 
iish. 1 fe resigned in 1852. In 1853 Rev. Reuben Weiser followed, 
hut was elected as president of Central College of Iowa in 1856. 
Rev. 1 'hilip W'illard then served two years. The succession of min- 
isters from then on is as follows : 

Rev. G. M Settlemoyer, 1859-61. Rev. John F. Dietrich, 1877-S0. 

Rev. Peter Sahm, 1862-69. Rev - F - Aurand, 1880-83. 

Rev. Daniel Sell, 1869-71. Rev. W. D. E. Scott, 1883-1906. 

Rev. John B. Stroup, 1873-74. Rev. Geo. A. Royer, 1907-14. 

Rev. Isaiah B. Crist, 1875-77. Rev. A. R. Longenecker, 1914-20. 

Rev. J. G. C. Knipple, 1921- 
Rev. John William Heim was the pastor of this church for 
thirty-four years. In the spring of 1824, at Eastertide, he re- 
ceived into membership a class of seventy persons. 

Loysville Reformed Church. The history of the Reformed 
congregation's church home is identical with that of the Lutheran 
Church, described above, as the two bodies were joint owners of 
the old Lebanon Church. The first minister of the Reformed con- 
gregation was Rev. Jacob Scholl, who became pastor in October, 
1819, although there were earlier ministers of that faith who held 
occasional services, one probably being Rev. Ulrich Heininger, who 
traveled Sherman's Valley. Rev. Scholl served until 1841, when 
he was succeeded by Rev. Charles H. Leinbach, who served until 
[859. A list of the pastors since that time will be found under the 
Landisburg Reformed Church. 

St. Peters Church. Two miles east of Landisburg, in Spring 
Township, stood St. Peter's Church, built in 1816-17, and dedi- 
cated in the spring of 1817. While its inception is shrouded in 
obscurity yet it is known to have been a preaching station when 
Loysville Church was formed in 1790, the ministers from Carlisle 
stopping to attend to the spiritual needs of the members. 

Historians place the probable date of first services as 1788, and 
1809 as about when the Lutheran and Reformed congregation^ 
wcia' organized there. Prior to 1815 both congregations had wor- 
shiped in a school building which stood on the site now occupied 
by St. Peter's Union Church. This school building was likely the 
property of the two congregations. 

December 23, 181 5, is the date of an agreement between the 
two congregations to build a church, in which it was staled that 


owing to the increasing number of Germans in that vicinity and 
the rapid growth of the congregations, the schoolhouse was too 
small for further worship. The new church was built on lands 
given for the purpose by John Gamber, and was dedicated in the 
spring of 1817. It was a log structure, 35x40 feet in size, and had 
a gallery on three sides, a cup-shaped pulpit mounted on a high 
post, and high, unpainted seats. The building committee was 
Henry Kell, Reformed, and John Miller, Lutheran. 

This old landmark stood until 1857, when on September 20th 
the present brick church was dedicated, taking its place, and belong- 
ing to the German Reformed people, the Lutherans having at the 
same time erected their own church. On April 28, 1824, $800 was 
paid to Samuel Ickes for fourteen acres of land for a parsonage for 
the pastor of the "German Reformed Presbyterian Church," by 
Philip Stambangh, trustee of Zion Church in Toboyne Township ; 
Henry Kell, trustee of Lebanon Church in Tyrone Township ; 
Philip Kell, trustee of St. Peter's Church in Tyrone (now Spring) 
Township ; William Hippie, trustee of Fishing Creek Church (now 
Rye) Township; Casper Lupfer, trustee of Christ's Church in 
Juniata Township. Here the pastor resided for many years. 

Rev. Alfred Helfenstein, pastor at Carlisle, was the first one to 
come over the mountain and hold services. On October 3, 18 19, 
Rev. Jacob Scholl assumed the regular pastorate of the Sherman's 
Valley charge, which extended as far as New Bloomfield. By 
1838 the work had become so extended on this charge that it was 
divided. Rev. Scholl remained at the Landisburg end until 1841, 
when he accepted a call to the lower end and remained pastor of 
the New Bloomfield charge until his death on September 4, 1847. 
His successor, Rev. C. H. Leinbach, served sixteen and a half 
years. From then on the pastors have been the same as those found 
under the Landisburg Reformed Church. See Landisburg chapter. 

Mt. Zion Lutheran Church. The Mt. Zion Lutheran Church's 
home was jointly with St. Peter's Reformed in the old Union 
church building just previously described, and was known as St. 
Peter's Lutheran congregation. In 1857 this old church was dis- 
mantled and each congregation built its own church. The Lu- 
theran then became Mt. Zion, and was dedicated May 30, 1858, 
Rev. Philip Willard then became the pastor. Stephen Losh was the 
contractor and the contract price was $2,300.00. George Sheaffer, 
Jeremiah Dnnkelberger, and Joseph Dnnkelberger were the build- 
ing committee. It was extensively repaired in 1882 and again in 
1894. Starting with Rev. John F. Osterloh, in 1809, the ministers 
have been the same as those of the Lutheran Church at Loysville. 
See chapter relating to Tyrone Township. 

71//. Pisgah Lutheran Church. The Lutherans of Carroll Town- 
ship were among those who first attended church at Carlisle, cross- 


ing the Kittatinny Mountain. Later they worshiped at Ml. Zion, 
described above, and at St. Peter's, in Spring Township. They 
had preaching services occasionally at Reiber's schoolhouse by Rev. 
Keller and Rev. Heyser, of the Carlisle churches. In 1838 they 
began holding their own services regularly, every four weeks, and 
a year later became a regularly organized congregation. 

Their church is located in Carroll Township, on the southern 
side of Sherman's Creek, and is near the site of Sutch's school- 
house, which was built between 1775 and 1780. There is an old 
graveyard there where many pioneers sleep. In 1842 Abraham 
Jacobs donated a lot for church purposes, with a proviso that 
when the Lutherans were not using it for their services it was to 
be available for any Christian denomination. A frame church was 
built and dedicated September 24, 1842. Its pastors were: 

Rev. John Ulrich, 1838-42. Rev. Levi T. Williams, 1842-45. 

Rev. Jacob kempfer, 1842. Rev. Lloyd Knight, 1845-49. 

Rev. Jacob Martin, 1850. 

In 1851 the church united with the Petersburg (now Duncan- 
non) charge, whose pastors served it until 1870, since which time 
it has had no regular services. During June, 1920, it was re- 
opened for a service by Rev. Longanecker, pastor of the Loysville 
church. Pastors of two other denominations joined in a com- 
munity service, designed to keep this old landmark from passing. 

Other Churches. The history of all the churches throughout the 
county, save these very early ones, appears in the chapters devoted 
to the various townships and boroughs. Where facts are missing, 
and there are some, letters sent out for information remained un- 
answered, with the necessarily attendant result. 

Oldest Buried Ground. Just which is the oldest burial ground 
in the county is at this late date a matter of conjecture. In the 
Evarts, Peck & Richards History of the Juniata and Susquehanna 
Valleys, Horace E. Sheibley says : 

"The site of the old Sherman's Creek Church, near Shermans- 
dale, is marked by an old graveyard, on what is known as the 
Zeigler property, between Fio Forge and Dellville, and where tra- 
dition claims that the first white man buried in the county was 
laid. In it are interred ancestors of the Stewarts and Kirkpatricks, 
of Duncannon." Swisshelms are also among those buried there. 

The Sherman's Creek Church, which was the forerunner of the 
present Shermansdale Presbyterian Church, can be traced back to 
1778, when it first appeared in the records of Presbytery, but it 
may have been organized before that or been a community affair 
for a time. Likewise, it may have been built where burials had 
previously been mack'. 

In 1766 three church organizations were formed within the lim- 
its of the present county; where Centre Church now stands, at 


Dick's Gap, and at or near Blain. In the cemetery at Centre, 
among other old stones, is one bearing the following legend: 

Here lies the body of 

Martha Robison, 

Who departed this life 

December 22, 1766, 

In the 81st year of her age. 

What relation she was to that memorable Robinson family 
which so often befriended the persecuted pioneers and much of 
whose history is recorded in these pages, must forever remain un- 
known, but barring tradition, her interment must have been among 
the first. So soon after the entry of the settlers in 1755 did the 
Indians arrive that there may have been no deaths at that time, 
but the returning settlers came back in large numbers in 1762, and 
it is hardly likely that there were no deaths in over four years 
among all the number, so that in the opinion of the writer the 
death of Martha Robison was not the first, but it is the first of 
which we could find record. Tradition has pioneers buried in the 
St. Michael's Lutheran churchyard in 1763, after massacres by the 
Indians. During the Indian invasion of 1755 there were also 
deaths, but where burial took place is not known. The tradition 
as to the old Sherman's Creek yard containing the first grave of a 
white man may be correct. In the cemetery at Loysville are a 
number of graves of persons who died prior to 1800, which at- 
tests the fact that this was a burying ground already over a cen- 
tury and a quarter ago. The Blain burial ground already existed 
in .1766. 

Wilson College Planned. Eighteen miles north of Mason and 
Dixon's line, at Chambersburg, in the beautiful Cumberland Val- 
ley, Wilson College, a leading women's college is located. Its first 
board of trustees was appointed at a meeting in the Presbyterian 
Church at Duncannon, at which time it was decided to open the 
college. Members of the Presbytery of Carlisle began a move- 
ment in 1868 for the formation of a college, and laid their repre- 
sentations before the spring meeting of Presbytery at Greencastle, 
April 15, 1868. It was favorably received and referred to the 
Committee on Education, which met at Duncannon, in June, 1868. 
There the action was favorable and the first plans of that great 
institution were made in Perry County. The Pennsylvania Legis- 
lature chartered it March 24, 1869. Its location was determined 
by a gift of great value by Miss Sarah Wilson, which enabled the 
trustees to purchase the residence of that former Perry Count ian. 
Col. A. K. McClnre, together with its fifty-two acres of adjoining 
lands, to-day the college grounds. 


THE firsl schools anywhere, ordained of God, were families, 
where parents taught their children to live in the fear and 
admonition of the Lord. Undoubtedly, as many facts in this 
book will verify, the early settlers of this territory brought with 
them from their homes Christian principles, which caused them to 
think early of their education along secular as well as religious 
lines. The early churches were used as schools in some instances, 
and where there was a schoolhouse and no church the condition 
was reversed, and the "meetings," as they were then known, were 
held in the schoolhouses. 

When William Penn became the proprietary of the Province of 
Pennsylvania he was not unmindful of the necessity of an educa- 
tional system, for he knew that a free government depended on 
an intelligent people for its success as well as its perpetuity. The 
second Assembly convened at Philadelphia in 1683, and on March 
roth of that year enacted the following law with reference to the 
education of the children of the province: 

"And to the end that the Poor as well as the Rich may be instructed in 
good and commendable learning, which is to be preferred before wealth, 
"Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all persons within this 
Province and territories thereof, having children, and all the Guardians 
or Trustees of Orphans, shall cause such to be instructed in reading and 
writing, so that they may be able to read the Scriptures, and to write by 
the time they attain to the age of twelve years, and that then they be 
taught some useful trade or skill, that ye poor may work to live, and the 
Rich, if they become poor, may not want, of which every county court 
shall take care; and in case such Parents, Guardians or Overseers shall 
be found deficient in this respect, every such Parent, Guardian or Over- 
seer shall pay for every such child five pounds, except there should appear 
an incapacitie of body or understanding to hinder it." 

While the law referred to the province generally yet it is con- 
sidered especially applicable here, as Perry County has ever been 
considered one of the foremost counties in the state in an educa- 
tional way. It shows that the early legislators of the province 
were concerned with education and that the courts by that act re- 
ceived their first authority to require attendance at school. 

When the State Constitution of Pennsylvania was adopted in 
1790 it contained a provision for the establishment of schools 
throughout the commonwealth, that the poor might be taught gratis 
a,nd that the arts and sciences should be promoted through one or 
more institutions of learning, but left to the legislature the fram- 




ing of the provisions. Pursuant thereto the act for the education 
of poor children was passed April 4, 1809. It savored more of 
philanthropy than of wisdom. The assessors, according to the 
provisions of the bill, were required to take a census of "all chil- 
dren between the ages of five and twelve, whose parents were un- 
able to pay for their schooling," thus putting both child and parent 
in an equivocal position. Naturally the raising of a class distinc- 
tion between pay pupils and charity pupils made the system odious 

PROF. D. A. K IJ X I •; . Present Co. Supt. of Schools. 

from the beginning, and the object of the law thus became prac- 
tically mill and void. As a whole it developed caste among even 
the children. Many of the poor would as soon have seen their 
children grow np in ignorance as to have had them considered 
paupers. These schools were known as "charity schools." While 
generally a failure yet it did some good, and in later years the 
commonwealth had the spectacle of boys whose fathers had paid 
for their attendance sitting in the highest positions besides boys 
whose tuition had been paid by the public, an everlasting reminder 
that the Creator of the universe gives to neither rich nor poor a 


superior quality of brains. In our highest position in the land, 

the Presidency, this is well illustrated in the cases of George 
Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt, Wash- 
ington and Roosevelt being children of the more wealthy, and Lin- 
coln being born in a log cabin and poor even when he attained that 
great office. This charity idea had been tried before. About 1750 
about £20,000 were raised in Europe for the purpose of opening 
charity schools among the Germans in America. Some were 
opened, but the Germans did not welcome the idea of charity. 
The object then had a double purpose, that of weaning them from 
their language, and with a political object in view. It ended in 

The early settlers of the county territory experienced all the 
privations incident to frontier life. The first settlers were either 
driven out or murdered, and not until after the Revolution was it 
possible to do anything with a view to permanency. The first 
schools were usually community affairs, and the branches taught 
were the rudimentary spelling, reading, writing, and arithmetic. 
The houses were built of logs and were very crude. The desks or 
tables and the seats were made of boards and slabs, and the win- 
dows had greased paper in place of window glass. 

A sparse population extending over a wide extent of country, 
mainly covered with dense forests and destitute of roads and 
bridges, was not conducive to the establishment of good schools 
within convenient distances. The occupations of the pioneers also 
were such that the time to be devoted to education was limited, 
owing to the necessity of clearing lands and erecting houses and 
other farm buildings, while, at the same time planting and harvest- 
ing the products of the soil to maintain a livelihood. There was 
no labor-saving machinery then and agricultural operations were 
of necessity slow and tedious. The threshing of the crops, now 
done in a day or two, then required months, as the "flail" was the 
"machinery" then in use to get the grain from the stalk. The 
daughters of the pioneers were just as much needed in the homes, 
as then all clothing was made by hand, and the operations of the 
spinning wheel and the needle (there being no sewing machines), 
along with the other household duties, required their constant 

The schools in those days were ruled to a great extent by cruel 
methods of punishment and humiliation. The "locking out of the 
teacher" was a holiday and last-day custom in many parts of the 
county. At Millerstown, during one of these frolics, Valentine 
Varnes, the teacher, had an arm injured, the use of which was 
impaired for the balance of his life. Many pupils had no books 
at all. Others had perchance a Bible, a speller or an old English 
reader. A few had slates. Fewer still had foolscap paper. These 

3 12 


were invariably boys, as it was considered unnecessary for girls 
to learn to write or "figure." The few who had copy books were 
also the possessors of goose quills, as Joseph Gillett did not invent 
the steel pen until 1820. By introducing machinery in manufac- 
ture the price became as low as twenty-five cents each, after which 
a few found their way into the schools. There was no uniformity 
in the use of textbooks, each pupil bringing such as the family pos- 
sessed. History, geography, grammar, physiology, and algebra 
were unknown in the schools of that day. In 1823 the Columbia 
Standard spelling book was the one in general use in the new 

No attention was given to elementary sounds, yet many good 
spellers came out of our earlier schools; in fact, the scholars of 
a half century ago were probably better spellers than are their de- 
scendants of to-day, but the present-day pupils have far more 
branches. When geography was first taught the method was to 
have the pupil learn all the states and their capitals, even singing 
them in order to memorize. Blackboards were practically unknown 
until about 1850. The teachers wrote the copy for the copy books 
of foolscap paper. Shortly after the organization of Perry County 
the old log schoolhouses were gradually replaced by frame struc- 
tures, which had better light, but were not nearly so warm. About 
the middle of the last century the red brick buildings began re- 
placing the frame, being known universally as "the little red 

For those who disparage these early pioneer schools or "the little 
red sehoolhouse," which followed in their wake the writer has 
little sympathy, as the fine new high school building in many a 
place is but the fruition of the seed sown over a century ago; and 
we know that with the hundreds of disadvantages under which 
they labored, they did well, and builded better than they knew. 
These new high school buildings with plastered and papered walls, 
fine desks, books galore, heated throughout at the same tempera- 
ture, no matter what the condition of the weather, are the logical 
successors of these little log schoolhouses just as much as is the 
line modern passenger train with its vestibuled cars the successor 
of the Conestoga wagon and the packet boat. Without the one we 
would never have progressed to the other. Practically all great 
institutions and machines are the results of progression and the 
products of many minds and years of experience and experiment. 

Throughout the state there was more or less opposition to 
progress in education. A strange coincidence along this line is 
worthy of reproduction here. A number of young men decided 
that they wanted an academy at Bath, Northampton County, so as 
to secure a more advanced education. They decided to canvass the 
community for subscriptions, and among others upon whom they 


called was George Wolf, a German who was located in the neigh- 
borhood. He refused, remarking in broken English, "l)is etication 
and dings make raskels." He later on relented and helped build 
the academy. In inducing the subscription his young caller men- 
tioned his two sons, George and Philip, as probable future bene- 
ficiaries of the school, and suggested that his favorite son, George, 
might get an education and some day become governor, to which 
he replied, "Veil, den, when my George is gobernor, he will he 
queer times." The sequel is that George Wolf got his English 
education in that academy and did become the governor of his 
state, and one of the most illustrious of his time, being the firsl 
governor to call attention to the appalling condition of ignorance 
which faced the commonwealth. 

The passage of the act of 1834 to a great extent can be credited 
to Governor Wolf, who in 1833 had become acquainted with the 
fact that while there were four hundred thousand children of 
school age in the state there were hut twenty thousand in school, 
or while one was getting an education there were nineteen others 
growing up illiterate. In his annual message to the legislature he 
mentioned these facts and appealed for legislation to remedy this 
a] »] tailing condition. 

The first effort at establishing a free school system in the state 
was in 1820, when a Dr. Cummings, a member of the Pennsylvania 
Legislature, introduced a bill to establish one. It failed to pa^s 
and the author was not reelected, as that act caused him to be re- 
garded as a dangerous man and his constituency felt disgraced by 
his actions. Henry Beeson, of Fayette County, introduced an- 
other in 1825. It too failed. 

All the legislative acts prior to 1834 are generally known as acts 
of pauper legislation, but the legislature of that year passed the 
common school act which is to-day the basis of our public school 
law. This act completely revolutionized school affairs. School 
directors were elected in every district, arrangements were made 
for new buildings, taxes were levied and assessed, teachers were 
employed, and the children of the rich and the poor met on a com- 
mon level. In some districts of Perry County for a year or two 
the provisions of the act were not accepted, but generally speaking, 
it was the other way. In some counties it was opposed for many 
years; in one where the population was mostly German, two- 
thirds of the districts did not adopt it until after 1850, and some 
as late as 1864. These German communities had a sort of a paro- 
chial school system of their own which they feared would be de- 
stroyed. As an example, of the local aversion to the free school 
system, John Bair, Sr., father of John Bair, later president of the 
Peoples' Bank of Newport, refused to let his children attend the 
free schools of Buffalo Township for the first two terms. 


When the free school law became effective in 1834 the court did 
not appoint directors to serve until the necessary elections took 
place the following spring. In 1836, the first year after the intro- 
duction of the system, Perry County stood third in the state in its 
support. Of the thirteen districts then reporting Toboyne Town- 
ship was the only one to stand out against acceptance. In 1837, 
Millerstown, then in Greenwood Township, had a five-months' 
term. As early as that year »Saville Township had twelve female 
and five male teachers. In the remainder of the county there were 
only four other females employed. When it passed the represen- 
tative from Perry County, then but recently formed, was John 
Johnston, the second son of George and Margaret (Russell) John- 
ston, emigrants who had come from Ireland and settled in Toboyne 
Township. He was of athletic build and weighed more than two 
hundred pounds, was well read, and was supporting Thaddeus 
Stevens in the passage of the bill, when he was interrupted by a 
member of slight stature, with the interrogation, "What do you 
raise in Perry County?" Quick as a flash he retorted, "We raise 
men," and his erect and well formed body, coupled with his ability 
and quick wit, at once substantiated the statement. Within recent 
years the writer had a similar experience along the same line. 
Being queried by several companions as to "what Perry County 
produced," the retort was, "The county school superintendents of 
both your counties," for the one interrogater was from Lancaster 
County, Pennsylvania, where Prof. Daniel Fleisher was then 
county superintendent, and the other was from Mercer County, 
New Jersey, where Prof. Joseph M. Arnold is superintendent of 

These early schools were open for but short periods, from one 
to three months, but the Act of 1854 made the minimum term four 
months. It was increased to five months in 1872, to six months 
in 1887, and to seven months in 1899. In 1893 a law was passed 
providing for the furnishing of free textbooks to all pupils. 

Every step in advancement along educational lines in the state 
has been fought, and when the Act of 1854 created the office of 
county superintendent of schools it was considered a mighty un- 
popular piece of legislation, and in nearly all of the counties of the 
state the position carried a niggardly wage to the new official, the 
school directors being the final authority on salary. However, 
the influence of the county superintendency soon became apparent 
in the improved condition of the schools, in the higher standards of 
teachers, and in a greater interest in education generally. The 
organization of teachers' institutes and the establishment of normal 
schools were two of the indirect results of the institution of the 
county superintendency. As an example of the salaries first paid 
county superintendents, note the following: Lancaster County 


paid $[,500, the only county in the state to pay over $[,000. ( )nly 
four counties in the slate paid $1,000, all the rest being below $800 
per annum. For a large county Berks was the most conspicuous, 
paying but $250, or $50 less than Terry County. Wyoming paid 
$150, and Fulton and Pike $100, or less than $9 per month. 

Previous to the creation of the position of county superintendent 
the individual efforts of the teachers and directors, owing to isola- 
tion, were practically lost on account of the lack of supervision. 
Though there were advanced ideas in effect here and there, there 
was 110 way of their getting into general use. Those first county 
superintendents must have found as many varieties of teaching 
methods and customs as there were schools. 

Col. Alexander K. McClure, himself a Perry Countian, in his 
book, "Old-Time Notes of Pennsylvania," published in 1905, 
speaking of the period when the county was young, among other 
things, says : 

"Free schools were unknown and the few who dared to advocate them 
did not venture to seek political preferment. The crossroad schoolhouse 
was found in every community, but it was usually the centre of a neigh- 
borhood five or six miles in diameter. Every schoolhouse had its teacher 
during the winter season, for which he was usually paid so much by the 
parent for each scholar, and "boarded around" with his patrons. Teaching 
was confined to reading, writing, and arithmetic, and I well_ remember the 
hostility aroused among a large portion of my school district (located in 
Madison Township) when the violent innovation of teaching grammar 
was made. It was long resisted, but finally succeeded to the extent of 
permitting the teacher to teach it, although there were very few who ac- 
cepted what was generally regarded as such a needless feature of educa- 
tion for their sons. The one green memory I have of the occasional 
school of that time is that of the holiday frolic. It was then that the 
school children had not only absolute freedom to bar their teacher out and 
keep him out even with hot pokers if he tried to climb through a window, 
until he compromised by giving them a liberal supply of apples and nuts. 
If the teacher had walked away, as he presumably might have done, with- 
out undertaking to force his way into the schoolhouse, he would have been 
promptly dismissed by the school authorities, and, while a majority of the 
parents of children would have flogged their boys severely at any other 
time for the antics they played upon the teacher in the holiday season, 
they were expected even by the strictest of parents to take a full hand in 
the holiday battle, and the boy who gave the teacher the bravest fight was 
the hero of the hour. If the teacher fought his way into the schoolhouse 
or entered it by compromise with the boys, the moment he was within the 
sanctuary of his authority discipline was instantly resumed, but there could 
be no punishment for the scholars who were in the fight. 

"I well remember the early battles in the neighborhood in which I 
lived made for the acceptance of the free school system. The original 
free school law was very crude, but it was the best that could be obtained 
at the time, and it cost the brave Dutch (meaning German) Governor 
(Wolf) who signed it, and many who had supported it, defeat before the 
people. It was not compulsory, and at any spring election a certain num- 
ber, of citizens could call for a vote on the acceptance of the free school 
law, and many times did the few Scotch-Irish in the neighborhood make 


a brave struggle for the acceptance of free schools, but they were voted 
down half a dozen times or more by the united vote of the Germans and 
others who opposed taxation for free education. Our school system was 
thus of little value, and advancement in it was very slow until Curtin be- 
came secretary of the commonwealth, in 1855, when it was made a distinct 
department and placed in charge of the assistant secretary of the com- 
monwealth, the late Henry C. Hickok, who had heart and soul in the 
cause, and under Curtin's direction gave the free school system of out- 
state a standing that commanded general respect. 

"Strange as it may seem in this enlightened age, with Pennsylvania en- 
joying the most liberal educational policy of any state of the Union, the 
free school system was simply a crude, crippled, and in some localities, 
very generally decried system of free education of the children of the 
state. It had been passed by Thaddeus Stevens a quarter of a century 
before, but the public sentiment of the state was so overwhelmingly against 
it in many communities that it was impossible to make it a homogeneous 
and beneficent system. The same year that the law was passed, the people 
of the state elected a legislature that was openly and positively averse to 
free schools, and a bill repealing the entire system had reached a position 
of final passage in the house, when Stevens, the author of the original bill, 
delivered the most effective speech of his life, and doubtless one of the 
ablest and most eloquent, as it literally made the house take pause and de- 
feat its own openly proclaimed purpose. For many years thereafter, nota- 
bly in the German counties of Berks, Lehigh, and others, delegations were 
chosen to the legislature on the distinct issue of "no free schools." and it 
was nearly or quite a generation after the passage of the original bill that 
the acceptance of the free schools of every district was made mandatory. 

"The law as first enacted authorized any township to accept the free 
school system by the vote of the majority at the spring elections and put 
it into operation, but in some sections of the state there were entire coun- 
ties in which there was not a single accepting district. I well remember, 
when a small boy, the special interest taken by my father and other 
Scotch-Irish residents of the township to have the free school system ac- 
cepted. They called election after election from year to year, but suffered 
defeats for a decade or more, as the Germans, as a rule, were bitterly 
opposed to enforced education. Although Governor Wolf, a distinct rep- 
resentative of the old German element of the state, with his home among 
the Germans of Northampton, had approved the school bill, a very small 
percentage of the Germans of the state supported it, and it cost him his 
reelection, as when he was nominated for a third term a large element of 
the Democrats bolted, nominated Muhlenberg, of Berks, as a second Demo- 
cratic candidate, and thus divided the Democratic vote and elected Ritner 

That there never was a school at the old Dick's Gap Church, as 
sometimes stated, is evident from the fact that schools were con- 
ducted only in winter, and that this building was not "chunked and 
daubed" as late as 1797. Just where the first school may have been 
opened in the county will probably never be known, but within the 
limits of what is now Perry County there was opened the first free 
school in Pennsylvania west of the Susquehanna River. It was 
located a quarter-mile west of Barnett's mill, near New Bloomfield. 
on the Carlisle road, and was not only built at the expense of 
George Barnett, owner of the lands upon which it was located, 


but was proclaimed by him to be free to any and all children of 
the neighborhood. He even paid the salary of the teacher and fur- 
nished the fuel for the heating of the schoolroom. A pioneer and 
real philanthropist among those of his day who believed in educa- 
tion, George Barnett became the progenitor of a family which has 
left its mark in legal, educational, literary, medical and business 
lines. Two of his descendants have been elected president judge 
of the courts of his county. Just when this building was erected 
cannot be told, but as the lands passed to George Barnett on May 
10, 1804 (previous ownership having been vested in his father, 
Thomas Barnett), it was subsequent to that time. During 1815 a 
Mrs. O'Donnell was engaged as teacher, but the school had then 
been in operation for a number of years, which places the date of 
its erection somewhere between 1804 and 1815. Whether Mrs. 
O'Donnell taught as early as Miss Gainor Harris, at Blain, is 
questioned, but the teaching period of the one was practically co- 
incident with that of the other. The school at Blain, however, was 
a pay school then, as all were save the Barnett school at New 

That both the first free school west of the Susquehanna prior to 
the free school act and the first school to be declared a free school 
under that act should have been located within the boundaries of 
the county of Perry is an interesting coincidence, and a fact. In 
the sketch relating to Chief Justice Daniel Gantt, of Nebraska, to 
be found elsewhere in this book, the statement is made which veri- 
fies it. The facts are these, from the diary of the late chief jus- 
tice, now in possession of his heirs, near Lincoln, Nebraska: To 
help pay his expenses while reading law at New Bloomfield, he 
taught a subscription school (as all schools then were save the one 
previously mentioned) in Buffalo Township, at Colonel Thomp- 
son's, in the part which later became Watts Township. Interested 
parties from that community had ridden horseback to Harrisburg 
to learn of the legislation pertaining to free schools. Hearing that 
the bill had passed, they rode home during the night and arrived be- 
fore morning with the news. When the future chief justice opened 
his school in the morning he proclaimed it a free school — his diary 
says the first school in the commonwealth under that act. As the 
act had then only passed the legislature and was still unsigned by 
the governor his statement that it was the first to open under the 
act is no doubt correct. From the same source the statement comes 
that Buffalo Township at once accepted the free school law, the 
first township in the commonwealth to do so. 

Perry County was one of the very first counties in the state to 
hold teachers' institutes. The origin of the first one dates back to 
a letter written by Samuel S. Saul, of Duncannon, dated June 7, 
1854, and published in the county press. It suggested the forming 


of a teachers' association. The call for the first County Teachers' 
Institute followed, being issued July 15, 1854, and signed by 
Samuel S. Saul, Joseph Ogle, William Brown, Albert E. Owen, 
James G. Turbett, and R. I. Heim. It was held at New Bloom- 
field, in the academy, on Wednesday, August 9, 1854. The first 
officers were : Rev. R. Weiser, Loysville, president ; John A. Mc- 
Croskey, New Bloomfield, secretary; committee on constitution 
and by-laws: A. Owen, J. R. Titzel, W. Glover, J. A. McCroskey, 
and Charles A. Barnett ; committee on work: A. D. Owen, J. R. 
Titzel, and George Tressler. This committee suggested as needing 
attention: 1. Small pay of teachers; 2. Incompetent teachers; 

3. How to procure the best knowledge of the art of teaching ; 

4. School books; 5. Duties of teachers; 6. Authority of teachers 
in school government. The institute recommended Page's Theory 
and Practice of Teaching and the following textbooks : Webster's 
spellers, McGuffey's readers, Emerson's arithmetics, Smith's ele- 
mentary grammar and Parker & Fox's advanced grammar, and 
Mitchell's geographies and maps. 

Then the further meetings seem to be confusing. Prof. Silas 
Wright recorded that on October 26th of the same year an insti- 
tute was held in Landisburg, and that on January 12, 1855, another 
was held at New Bloomfield, at which the name the "Perry County 
Teachers' Institute" was adopted. That would place three meet- 
ings very close together. The files of the county press place the 
second meeting on March 20, 1855, with A. R. Height, presi- 
dent, and Albert Owen, secretary, and continuing over Tuesday, 
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. It also places the next at 
Landisburg, September 7. 1855, with Daniel Gantt, president; 
Henry D. Woodruff, vice-president ; Noble Meredith, secretary ; 
F. M. McKeehan, treasurer, and an executive committee consisting 
of Rev. George S. Rea, R. I. Heim, and D. Kistler. In the mean- 
time a Perry County Teachers' Association had been formed in 
April, 1855, with the following officers: Daniel Gantt, president; 
D. Kistler, vice-president; Noble Meredith, secretary; F. M. Mc- 
Keehan, treasurer, and an executive committee consisting of R. I. 
Heim, Henry Titzel, and C. S. Toomey. As the officers of the 
Landisburg session, in the main, were the same as the officers of 
this association, it is presumed that the meeting of April was 
merely to form the permanent organization. 

Until 1869 the institute was held at various places, but since then 
regularly at the county seat. State Supt. Thomas H. Burrowes 
was the first instructor from without the county. At the session 
of 1856 Chas. \. Barnett (later judge) presented the subject of 
English Grammar. Among the early instructors were Professors 
Wickersham, Brooks, and Raub. At the session of 1869 H. C. 
Magee and G. C. Palm lied on a spelling contest for first place. 


At the session of 1870 Henry Houck, later to become famous in 
educational circles, and Silas Wright were among the instructors. 
Shortly afterwards local institutes were started in the various 
towns, covering two evenings and the intervening Saturday, and 
they are continued to this day, community centres for educational 
thought. Their usefulness and value are attested by the large 
number of educators who have been connected with them and have 
gone abroad to serve other communities. The custom of issuing 
the proceedings of the Teachers' Institute in pamphlet form was 
begun in 1877. 

The curriculum of the grade public schools at this time includes 
spelling, reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, English grammar, 
United States history, and physiology. History was not required 
until 1867, and physiology was added in 1885. 

An act of the Pennsylvania Legislature, dated April 12, 1866, 
extended to Perry and Indiana Counties the provisions which had 
been granted to the counties of Lancaster and York the previous 
year. This was the legislation which authorized the county to ap- 
propriate $200 annually to get instructors for the annual institute 
of one week. Another act was passed relating to the Perry County 
Teachers' Institute. It is dated March 19, 1872, and authorized 
the payment of the salaries of the teachers while attending institute. 

Mr. John S. Campbell, long connected with educational work in 
Perry County, during 1920, compiled for the Newport News a 
historical sketch of the actions of early Newport school boards. 
taken from the minutes. At a meeting November 26, 1855, it was 
resolved "that all the teachers within the district of Newport are 
hereby required to personally attend the meeting of the Perry 
County Teachers' Institute, to be held in New Bloomfield, and be- 
ginning on December 17, 1855, and that during the sessions of the 
same they shall all be allowed their pay for the time thus spent as 
fully as if they were actually engaged in teaching in town district," 
and "that Messrs. Alfred M. Gantt and W. S. Marshall, our teach- 
ers, be requested to meet the board each on an evening on their 
return from attendance at the institute and in a lecture give an 
account of the doings and action of said institute with the advan- 
tage it may. be to the teachers and children under their care, which 
lectures at the option of Messrs. Gannt and Marshall shall or may 
be public." That may have been the first or one of the first boards 
to pay teachers for attending institute. Mr. Gannt's salary then 
was $26 per month, and Mr. Marshall's, $25. There were then two 
single room buildings. In i860 a night school was conducted by 
G. McKey. During that year the borough had two schools, paying 
the teachers $25 and $28 per month. 

In the chapters of this book relating to the various townships and 
boroughs the locations of the earliest schools are given, as it was 


considered to be more appropriate there than in this general chap- 
ter. It will be in »(cd that the first schoolhouses, established almost 
coincident with the settlement of the pioneers, were invariably built 
of logs, being "chunked and daubed," with few windows, and in 
some a log being omitted from the regular order so as to let in 
light. The reader should not consider this fact as disparaging, as 
the homes of that pioneer period were practically all built in the 
same manner. These first schoolhouses in many cases were built 
by the communities by voluntary contributions and labor. They 
usually occupied as much ground as their dimensions, playgrounds 
being then unthought of. They had long desks built along the out- 
side walls, the benches upon which the children sat being the same 
heighth for all ages. A large wood stove occupied the centre of 
each of these primitive buildings. The teachers were either the 
early ministers or men who merely taught long enough to amass 
enough to pay their way to other fields, using the profession as a 
"stepping-stone" — an unfortunate condition which has to this day 
followed in its wake. The schools were conducted for pay at a 
stated price per quarter. 

The old Monterey schoolhouse in Toboyne Township, which 
burned about five years ago, still had the oldest type of furniture 
which ever graced a schoolroom in the county. The site of this 
building is now surrounded by state forest lands of the Tuscarora 
forest. The East Horse Valley school, in the same township, also 
has homemade furniture, but of a somewhat later type. The oldest 
schoolhouse still standing in the county is in Blain Borough, but 
is no longer in use as such. 

According to an announcement in the Perry Forester of Novem- 
ber 15, 1827, the new county had a night school in its very early 
years. It follows: 

Night School. 

The Subscriber will commence a Night School on Monday, the 26th 
instant. Persons desiring of improving themselves in the common rudi- 
ments of learning, and cannot well spare the daylight, will please make 
immediate application. James B. Coopek. 

Landisburg, November 15, 1827. 

During the period from 1851 to 1853 there was a night school 
at Millerstown, among the students being the late William Kipp, 
later a justice of the peace in that town for many years. 

Dr. J. R. Flickinger, once county superintendent of Perry 
County Schools and for many years prior to his death principal of 
the State Normal School at Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, related an 
early incident in connection with a schoolhouse which stood as late 
as 1808 in what is now Jackson Township, on the farm later known 
as the Wentz place. It follows : 

"A wedding party was expected to pass the schoolhouse on a certain day, 
and when they were reported to be coming by a boy stationed on the out- 


side, the teacher took all his pupils to the roadside and stationed them in 
rows on both sides of the mad, and when the wedding party passed 
through the ranks the teacher had instructed them to make a profound 
obeisance to the bride and groom. The result happened as the shrewd 
teacher expected, the happy groom treating him to the contents of his 

Pupils from the west end of Liberty Valley traveled to Sandy 
Hill, where an early schoolhouse stood near a spring at the fool 
of the hill south of the Sandy Hill store. They traveled across the 
foot of Conococheague Mountain over a path trod by bears as late 
as 1S70. During the shortest days of tbe year these pupils had to 
take their breakfasts before daylight and start for school, and it 
was long after nightfall that they returned to warm firesides and 
supper. At Loysville, in Tyrone Township, the teacher and family 
occupied one end of tbe schoolhouse. In some enmities that was 
the general custom. By neighborhood or community spirit some- 
times a schoolhouse, save the roof, was on the stum]) at the rising 
of the sun. and when the sun went down, the building was finished. 

( >n March 28, 1814, a bill passed the Pennsylvania Legislature 
authorizing the land office to make a clear title to lands for a 
school in Tobovne Township, Cumberland County — now Perry. 
In the Perry Forester there was a notice published for a school 
meeting to be held May 7, 1825, the call being signed by William 
B. Miller, Jesse Miller, and Jacob Fritz. This was doubtless for 
the purpose of carrying out the provisions oi the Act of 1825. 

The Peoples' Advocate ran an educational department as earl) 
as April 11, 1855, being the first paper in the county to run such 
a department. Others soon followed. The same paper, beginning 
August 1, 1877, published a series of articles on "History of Edu- 
cation in Perry County." 

During the earlier years of the existence of the public schools 
many experiments naturally were made, a notable one being in 
Newport Borough in 1854, when the school board decided to have 
eight months' school, divided into the following terms : First term, 
May, June, August, and September; second term, November, De- 
cember, January, and February. That system left a two months' 
vacation during March and April, and the other vacations, one in 
July and one in October. 

During the period of the War Between the States many teachers 
who were most efficient and who had the most experience were 
called to the colors, with the attending result that inexperienced 
boys and girls were requisitioned to fill their places, thus lowering 
the educational standard for a time. That condition had its coun- 
terpart in the recent World War when salaries became so high in 
other lines that many left the profession and others were called to 
the colors. 

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During the period of educational development, from prior to 
the War Between the States to almost the end of the century the 
public schools of the county, especially the country districts, were 
attended by many scholars who had reached young manhood and 
womanhood, a condition which no longer exists. With the years 
the average age of the pupils has decreased, and in few country 
schools can any pupils over fifteen years of age he found, and in 
the borough schools few over seventeen. During the sessions of 
1S73-74 there were 185 pupils in private schools, and 6,198 under 
sixteen years of age, and 1,606 beyond that age in the public 
schools. Yet it should be remembered that, in so far as the edu- 
cators of note from the county are concerned, to a very great ex- 
tent they were products of that period, and largely of the country 

Ex-County Supt. Silas Wright, in a report to the state and later 
in various historical articles in speaking of the visitation of 
schools by the board of directors, said: "From 1874 to 1878 the 
directors of Buffalo Township visited the schools as a whole board 
a number of times during the term and carefully inspected the con- 
dition of the schools. This was the period of most marked prog- 
ress." The fact that Mr. Wright made the statement and singled 
out Buffalo Township infers that that was the initial proceeding 
of that kind in the Perry County schools. The records at New 
Bloomfield show the election of the following men who composed 
the boards there during the years of that period, who instituted 
that method : John C. McGinnes and Ezra Patton, 1872 ; George 
W. Potter and Robert B. Fritz, 1873 ; Samuel Bair and Jacob Mc- 
Connell, 1874; Henry Hain and Michael Seiler, 1875; Jacob 
Charles and Josiah Bair, 1876. 

In 1836 Wheatheld Township paid its teachers $14.25- a month. 
In 1838 there were eighty schools in the county, with terms rang- 
ing from three to seven months. The salaries were from $15.00 
to $23.00 per month. In 1840 Buffalo Township dispensed with 
schools altogether in order to use the funds to build schoolhouses. 
There were fifty-five schools in the remainder of the county, with 
male teachers getting from $15-00 to $22.00, and females $12.00 
per month. 

When the law creating the office of county superintendent of 
schools came into effect, in 1854, there were in Perry County 108 
schools in session with an attendance of 5,984 pupils. The male 
teachers received an average salary of $18.50. $11.40 being paid 
females. In 1855, the law being effective for the first time, the 
number of schools had increased to 138, and the salaries for males 
averaged $22.75, an( l that of females, $18.72 per month. The 
highest salary paid that year was $30.00. In 1876 salaries had ad- 
vanced to an average of $30.57 for males, and $28.51 for females. 


Later on, during the period around [890, salaries had become very 
low in many of the country districts, Tuscarora Township one year 
paying as little as $15.00 a month, and Carroll Township, paying 
$17.00 to some of its teachers. 

By 1877 there were 181 schools in the county, conducted in 160 
schoolhouses, of which 119 were frame buildings, thirty-six brick 
and stone, and five of logs. The grounds of 118 were reported as 
of sufficient size, and of five as suitably improved. Of the build- 
ings live had been built that year, twenty-four were unfit for use, 
119 had suitable furniture, and twenty-eight injurious furniture. 
( )f the teachers live held permanent certificates, five professional, 
and the remainder were chosen from among 222 who held provi- 
sional certificates. Their average age was twenty-seven years, 
thirty-eight had no experience, seventy-seven had over t\vc years, 
three intended to make teaching a permanent business, five had 
attended a state normal school, two had graduated there, three 
were reported as failures, and the average grade of provisional 
certificates was 1.9, with ten applicants rejected. The estimated 
number of children of school age not in school was 634. There 
were thirty-four graded schools, 169 well classified, twenty-three 
examinations held by the superintendent, and 115 directors pres- 
ent. 'Phe higher branches were taught in eight schools and the 
Bible read in all of them. There were five academies in the county, 
with 270 pupils attending, and ten teachers employed. There were 
4.056 males and 3,472 females in attendance in the public schools. 
The teaching staff was composed of 142 males and thirty-nine fe- 
males. The average salaries of males was $28.08 and of females, 
$28.05. The. mill rate averaged 4.14 mills and the state appropria- 
tion to the county was $6,870.66. Carroll Township paid the 
smallest salaries, $18 per month. The Duncannon Borough prin- 
cipal got the highest salary, $60 per month. 

The Perry County schools were represented at the Philadelphia 
Centennial in 1776 by an exhibit containing: 

A. — A History of Perry County, by Prof. Silas Wright, once county su- 
perintendent of schools. 

B. — A map of Perry County, showing the division of townships, location 
of towns and villages, mountains, streams, and iron ore deposits. It was 
a pen and ink sketch by L. E. McGinnes, later superintendent of the Steel- 
ton schools. 

C. — Specimens of the work of pupils in the common branches, examina- 
tion questions, and a table of school statistics of the county. 

The laws governing the public schools of Pennsylvania had be- 
come so extensive and complicated that, upon the report of a spe- 
cial commission to investigate the subject, a school code was 
adopted at the special session of the Pennsylvania Legislature in 
19x1. Among other provisions was that of a state board of edu- 
cation, a state superintendent and assistants, thirteen state normal 


schools, teachers' institutes, a teachers' retirement fund, school 
libraries an<l medical supervision and inspection oi the schools. 

A strange contrast is that of the past and the present in the 
teaching profession. During the last quarter of the past century 
there were many applicants for almost every school, even at the 
very low salaries then paid, while now there are very often not 
enough applicants to supply the schools, although the salaries are 
more than double what they then were. A. J. Magee. now pro- 
prietor of Alfalfa Stock Farm at Sanford, Colorado, recalls 
that in "the seventies," when lie was the successful applicant for 
the Shenandoah school, near Ickesburg, in Saville Township, there 
were seventeen applicants. That township then paid $31 per 
month for No. 1 certificates; $2, for No. 2; $23 for No. 3, and 
a further reduction, regardless of grade, for beginners. During 
recent years the high salaries paid in other lines induced many of 
the best teachers to adopt other vocations, with the result that 
teachers' salaries had to lie advanced or a backward step taken with 
the schools. 

With a decrease of population, owing to smaller families and 
fewer families, the wayside school buildings are dwindling in num- 
ber. Taking but one district in the county as an example (Spring 
Township), two have dropped out in the Perry Furnace section, 
there being none between Jericho and Springdale, a distance oi not 
less than six and one-half miles. Between Union and Germany 
there are none, the distance being more than three miles. 

During the past century, especially in the country districts, the 
spelling school "and the literary society, conducted during evening 
hours, were a source of ins'.ruction as well as entertainment, not 
only for those of school aye, hut for the public generally. In these 
spelling schools it was the custom for two "choosers" — a position 
f favor — to "choose sides," words being pronounced alternately 
to the "sides," the "side" having the last contestant standing being 
the winner. Some are still held, hut their number is few as com- 
pared with the days of yore. The literary societies produced the 
best talent in their respective neighborhoods, the debates giving 
many a youngster his or her first chance "to speak in public." 
There are yet a number of these societies in existence and showing 
real life, but as a whole, like the spelling school, they passed their 
zenith with the end of the century. 

The modern trend seems to be to pass over the common branches 
too briefly, as an instance in the neighboring city of Harrisburg 
well illustrates. During a very recent year the Colonial Dames of 
that city offered three prizes of $10, $5, and $2.50 for the best 
essays along patriotic lines from scholars. The first two prizes 
were carried off by foreign-born children on better grammatical 


expression, belter spelling, and better penmanship, all of which 
shows that heritage alone cannot win against ambition. 

Liverpool Borough was the first school district in Perry Comity 
to have a graduating class, the year being 1884, and the principal, 
E. Walt Snyder, later a physician at Liverpool and Marysville. 

The first teacher in Perry County to be retired under the pro- 
vision of the Teachers' Retirement legislation was T. W. Tressler, 
of Juniata Township, who was retired in 1920. The previous win- 
ter Mr. Tressler had taught his fifty-third term. As it is but 
eight-six years (in 1920) since the advent of the free school sys- 
tem it will be seen that he was identified with it for more than 
sixty per cent of the time since its inception. Those fifty-three 
terms were consecutive, save a single break of one term. During 
the fifty-three years but one day was missed owing to illness. That 
record is remarkable. 

Among the teachers who taught for long periods is Capt. G. C. 
Palm, late of near Sandy Hill, who taught over fifty terms and 
was once a candidate for county superintendent of schools. His 
first term was taught at the Sandy Hill school and he had eighty 
pupils. He was then sixteen years old, and fifteen of his pupils 
were older than he was. Mr. Palm was 82 years of age in Febru- 
ary, 192 1, which would place the time of his entry into the pro- 
fession in 1855. The late John W. Soule, of Centre Township, 
was another veteran teacher, having taught thirty terms. The late 
Win. A. Memiuger was another veteran, having taught thirty-one 
consecutive terms. He began teaching in 1862. He was also a 
surveyor for twenty-three years and long a justice of the peace in 
Newport. J. J. Asper began teaching in 1875 and still teaches, 
having been out of the schoolroom but one or two years during 
that time. G. H. Rumbaugh has also taught about that long. 

Abner Knight, father of the late Erastus L. Knight, of New- 
port, taught in the county schools for forty years. 

In the public press the first county superintendent quoted the 
late J. A. McCroskey, of New Bloomfield, as a good teacher of 
that period. Henry Thatcher, father of the noted Thatcher boys, 
taught quite a number of terms, as also did Daniel Gantt, who be- 
came chief justice of Nebraska. Two others who taught many 
terms were John S. Campbell and S. E. Bucke, Mr. Campbell 
having taught over forty terms. 

An early teacher in Perry County, soon after its creation as a 
county, was Ann Watts, who afterwards became a missionary in 
the home field. She taught in the vicinity of Nekoda, Greenwood 
Township. One of the early teachers was Thomas Cochran, at 
Millerstown. Another who taught eight years in the public schools 
soon after their establishment was John Raffensperger, born in the 
very year of the county's erection. 



Two others who were able men were Levis Barnett Kerr and 
Silas Wright, both able school men, and both rilled the county 
superintendency on more than one occasion. Of Mr. Wright more 
elsewhere. Mr. Kerr was born in Tuscarora Township, March 19, 
1830, so that his early schooling- 
was almost coincident with the 
inauguration of the free school 
system. He was educated in the 
public schools of the county and 
in Tuscarora and Buoomfield 
Academies. Mr. John S. Camp- 
bell, a fellow teacher, describes 
him as "a man of few w r ords, 
with positive ideas." The res- 
ignation of Rev. Bucher, the 
county's second superintendent 
of schools, was filled by his ap- 
pointment. He later filled the 
position twice by election. He 
was a teacher in the Mt. Demp- 
sey Academy at Landisburg for 
three terms. He died February 
7, 1905, and a day or two later 
Mrs. Kerr passed away, both 
being interred in the same grave. 
All his children entered the teaching profession or the ministry, 
where, with a single exception, they are still to be found. 

The names of all these earlier teachers might well appear here 
with descriptive matter, but space forbids. 

Among the teachers of the latter half of last century was Wil- 
liam E. Baker, born April 20, 1834, almost coincident with the in- 
stitution of the free school system, with which his name is insepa- 
rably connected in the annals of Perry County. He was married 
into the well-known Shuman family, his wife having been Susanna 
(Bixler) Shuman. Professor Baker was one of the earliest, most 
proficient and successful of Perry County pedagogues. He was 
horn near Ickesburg, and in that section of the county his life was 
chiefly spent. He was a self-made man, of noble impulses and a 
penetrating mind. At the Teachers' Institutes of those earlier days 
he was an important factor. Mr. Baker died October 16, 1900. 
Luke Baker, the New Bloomfield attorney, is a son. 

A new era seems to have dawned upon the schools throughout 
the county. When not otherwise done, the pupils have been having 
the walls of their rooms papered, and have purchased window 
shades, flags, victrolas, organs, pianos, singing books, as well as 
contributed to local and world-wide charities, raising the money 



by conducting entertainments and holding small social affairs. The 
New Bloomfield school even purchased a most expensive encyclo- 
paedia. Numerous literary societies are held, and at Duncannon 
the schools had their own entertainment course. At a number of 
places, notably the Blain Vocational School and at a number of 
Buffalo Township schools, hot lunches were provided by the pu- 
pils, under direction of the teacher. The Newport schools have 
their own publication, "The Bine and White," and a number of the 
lower grades have a school garden on lands owned by the school 
district in another section of the town. New Bloomfield has a 
school orchestra. A number of schools measure and weigh the 
children and look after their general health. Many of the town 
schools have track teams, basketball teams and baseball clubs. So 
far, Tyrone Township has led the movement for consolidation, by 
closing four schools and selling the buildings. A new central 
school at Loysville replaces them. Even a village the size of Ickes- 
burg has educational advantages now which a very few years ago 
were not enjoyed by many boroughs of much larger population. 
The former high school there was transformed into that of a three- 
year alternating type in 1920, but in 1021 it was changed to a four- 
year course with two teachers, by the Saville Township school 
board. To it go the advanced pupils from the entire township. 
Being a rural county and the towns considerably separated, field 
dav exercises were not instituted until 192 T, when the Blain Voca- 
tional School carried off first honors. The score by points was: 
Blain, 66.50; Newport, 52.50; Landisburg, 3-; Duncannon, 34; 
Bloomfield, 22. 

The Blain Vocational School is an outgrowth of the Blain- 
Jackson Joint High School, which had as principal Newton Ker- 
stetter from 1914 to 1920. During the winter of 1916-17 Mr. 
Kerstetter, looking towards the advancement of the schools, intro- 
duced the subject of vocational training to the citizens, who sanc- 
tioned it. and the Blain Vocational School came into being with the 
opening of the term of 1917-18. In 1920 the State Department 
classed it as one of the three best vocational schools in the state. 
As an example of the advantage secured by the change it might 
be noted that (luring its last year as a joint high school the state 
appropriation was $172, and the payments to teachers was $735. 
while during its first year as a vocational training school it received 
from the state $2,637.50, which added to $586.38 tuition from non- 
resident pupils, totaled $3,223.88. During the latter year the pay- 
ments to teachers was $3,045. 

The trend of education in the country districts is towards the 
consolidation of schools, and spells the passing of the small one- 
mi building in many places. The Blain Vocational School is an 



example; the Landisburg joint high school is another. Penn and 
Saville Townships established central high schools. Late in [92] 

Centre school, in Wheal field Township, burned, and that township 
is considering the erection of a central school at Roseglen. 

It may be of interest to know just who were the first persons 
from Perry County territory to graduate from college, to get a State 
Normal diploma and to secure a business education. David Watts, 
the only son of General Frederick Watts, horn in what is now 
W'heatheld Township, on October 29, [764, matriculated at Dick- 
inson College, founded in 1783, and graduated with the very first 
class, the first college man horn in the territory comprising the 
county. He became one of the greatest lawyers of his day and 
the father of Judge Frederick Watts, the third judge to sit regu- 
larly on the Perry County bench. The first graduate of a State 
Normal School was Silas Wright, born in Greenwood Township, 
who graduated at Millersville, the first school of that description 
in Pennsylvania, in 1865. Prof. Wright was the superintendent 
of the Perry County schools for three terms and the author of the 
only separate History of Perry County before this volume. The 
first woman graduate of a State Normal School was Miss Anna 
Froelich, born in Duncannon, who also graduated at Millers- 
ville, in the class of 1882. Miss Froelich was also the first Perry 
County woman to become a school principal, having been principal 
of the Duncannon High School in 18S5. She was long a member 
of the faculty of the Central State Normal School, at Lock Haven, 
and is now a member of the faculty of the Millersville State Nor- 
mal School. The first native to take a business course that we 
could find record of was Hugh Hart Cummins, of Liverpool, who 
later became President Judge of Lycoming County. 

As something of an indication of wdiere Terry County stands 
educationally in the commonwealth, no less than three of her sons 
have been honored with the presidency of the State Educational 
Association. At the annual meeting held in Pittsburgh, in 1902, 
Junius R. Flickinger, a native of Madison Township, was the pre- 
siding officer. At the Altoona meeting, in 1906, Lemuel E. Mc- 
Ginnes, who was reared to manhood in Buffalo Township, was the 
president. In 1917 the meeting was held at Johnstown, and 
Charles S. Davis, who was born in New Bloomfield, presided. 
That as many as three school men from little Perry should be 
selected to preside over the deliberations of this important educa- 
tional body in hut little more than sixty years of its existence, i> 
an honor that has come to no other locality in the state outside of 
the larger cities. At the present time John C. Wagner, born in 
Saville Township, is treasurer of the State Association, having 
been such since 191 7. Mr. Wagner is superintendent of the Car- 
lisle schools. Of the three named above who were presidents of 


the State Association, Mr. Flickinger was long principal of the 
Central State Normal School at Lock Haven, Mr. McGinnes was 
long superintendent of the Steelton schools, and Mr. Davis was 
then principal at Steelton and succeeded Mr. McGinnes as super- 
intendent, the latter two having been associated in the work at 
Steelton for thirty-six years. 

Two of Perry's sons, David Loy Tressler, and Charles W. 
Super, became college presidents, the former of Carthage College 
in Illinois, and the latter of Ohio University, while a third, Junius 
R. Flickinger, became principal of the Central State Normal School 
of Pennsylvania. Others became founders of academies, county 
superintendents in various states and counties, while still others — 
many in number — became superintendents, principals and teachers. 

The rolls of educational institutions throughout the land con- 
tain and have contained for many years the names of hundreds of 
Perry Countians. Of the academies patronized the New Bloom- 
field Academy (now the Carson Long Institute) and Mercersburg 
have been the leading ones. The State Normal Schools at Ship- 
pensburg, Millersville, and Lock Haven, in the order named, have 
had the larger number of those preparing to teach, while among 
the colleges, those most patronized have been Dickinson, the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania, State, Gettysburg, Franklin & Marshall, 
and Bucknell. Among women's colleges Wilson probably leads. 
There is usually a Perry County Club at the Shippensburg insti- 
tution, at State College, and ofttimes at other institutions. Invari- 
ably the county is represented on leading athletic teams in these 
institutions, and even more frequently upon the staff of the liter- 
ary clubs. 

While Perry County has always been in the van in so far as edu- 
cation in Pennsylvania is concerned, yet many of its school build- 
ings, especially in country districts, are not the models of neatness 
as are the homes which contribute the children as pupils. The 
number which need paint inside and out is large. In dozens no 
papering has been done since their erection many years ago. Other 
counties are in the same plight, yet that fact does not mitigate the 
circumstances in the least. A county which has given to the coun- 
try at large four governors, three chief justices of as many states, 
two college presidents, and educators like J. R. Flickinger and L. E. 
McGinnes, not to mention dozens of others, cannot afford to let 
any building in the county remain in any but first-class shape. 

The only joint high school in the county, except the Blain Voca- 
tional School, is at Landisburg, being maintained by that borough, 
Tyrone and Spring Townships. It was started in 1914, the first 
principal having been Rev. Thomas Matterness. The first town- 
ship in Perry County to establish a township high school was Penn, 


in [895, in the room formerly occupied by the Lower Duncannon 
High School. It was later consolidated with the Duncannon Bor- 
ough High School. During 1919 the county teachers formed an 
association and held their first annual picnic at Groff's Woods. 
In 1920 a second picnic was held. The program consisted of edu- 
cational topics. 

Public schools have proven that education is the greatest defense 
ot a free people, that ignorance is a curse to any nation, and that 
their existence is the best guarantee of the rights granted by the 
Constitution. They are the virtual cradle of our democracy and, 
in the classrooms and upon the playgrounds meet upon an equal 
footing the sons and daughters of the wealthy and the poor. There 
are instilled the lessons of democracy and there are taught the first 
principles of fraternity. A writer has well said "the battleground 
of the world is the heart of the child," and that government fails 
at its source which ceases to make ample provision for the develop- 
ment and nurture of its future citizens. 

County Superintendents of Schools. 

Until the creation of the office of county superintendent of 
schools the public schools made slow progress, but from then on 
the schools became systematized and made great progress. Perry 
County has been unusually fortunate in having the highest type 
of men fill this important office — educators of the type of Kerr, 
Wright, Flickinger — and, in fact, one might well mention any one 
of them and still be within the truth in saying that they were men 
well above the average, even in educational circles. 

Shortly after the passage of the act creating the position the 
first convention to select a county superintendent of schools was 
held in the courthouse at New Bloomfield, June 5, 1854. Joseph 
Bailey, then a state senator, residing in Miller Township, was 
chosen as president, and James L. Diven, of Landisburg, as secre- 
tary of the convention. An effort to make the salary $600 per an- 
num was lost and it was placed at half that amount. There was a 
contest in which three ballots were taken, Rev. Adam R. Height, 
of Mechanicsburg, winning the election and thus becoming the 
first county superintendent. He had just located in the county 
that year— March 1 — as pastor of the New Bloomfield Lutheran 
charge. The candidates nominated and votes received were as 
follows : 

Rev. A. R. Height, Bloomfield, 42 47 51 

William Brown, Perm, 33 42 49 

Rudolphus Heim, Landisburg, 6 11 

Albert A. Owen, Landisburg, 16 

Henry Titzel, Juniata 4 



Henry G. Milans, New Bloomfield ; Rev. Solomon Bingham, 
Penn, and David Brink, Liverpool, were also nominated but were 
withdrawn before balloting began. 

Rev. Height's term is noted for his promptness in familiarizing 
himself with the work of the county's schools, his efficiency, and 
his energy. He used the public press to report his visits and make 
suggestions towards standardizing the schools. 

Three years later, at the triennial convention, Rev. Theodore P. 
Bucher was elected. He was a theological student, but recently 
graduated, and had attained prominence by opening the Mount 

EJx-County Stii «t . of Schools and author of "A History of Perry County."' 

Dempsey Academy at Landisburg. Another advantage possessed 
by him was that he had been a clerk in Thatcher's store at New- 
port as a boy, and his manliness and exemplary behavior was 
known of among a large circle of people. He continued teaching 
at the academy during the summer months while filling the office. 
During the summer of 1859 Superintendent Bucher resigned, 
and Lewis Barnett Kerr, of Tuscarora Township, was appointed, 
his commission being dated September 1, [859. So successfully 


did Prof. Kerr fill the position that he was elected at the third 
triennial convention, which met in May, i860. Prof. Kerr's work 
stands high in Perry County educational circles, even to this day. 

On May 4, [863, at the fourth triennial convention, Jacob 
Gantt, of Millerstown, was elected over William R. Cisna, of 
Madison Township, on the fifth ballot, by a majority of fourteen 
votes. Other candidates voted for were P. P. Kerr, Tuscarora 
Township; P. O. Foose, Juniata, and S. IP Galbraith, New 
Ploointield. Three wars previously the salary had been increased 
from $300 to $400 annually, but at this convention it was again 
placed at $300, but Superintendent Gantt, at a special meeting 
after his election succeeded in having it raised to $500 per year. 

In May, 1866, the fifth convention chose Silas Wright, of Green- 
wood Township, on the third ballot, over Jacob Gantt, of Millers- 
town, and George W. Lesher, of Duncannon. Prof. Wright was 
graduated from the Millersville State Normal School in 1865 and 
was the first State Normal graduate in the county. When elected 
county superintendent he was under twenty-five years of age. 

In May, 1869, at the sixth convention, Lewis B. Kerr was again 
elected, having a majority of eight votes over Silas Wright, his 
closest competitor. There were eleven ballots and four candidates. 

The seventh convention occurred May 7, 1872, and fixed the 
salary at $700 per annum. George C. Welker, of Liverpool, was 
chosen over G. C. Palm, on the third ballot, by a majority of eight 
votes. Before the ending of the first year of his term Superin- 
tendent Welker died, and Silas Wright was appointed, his com- 
mission dating April 1, 1873. So acceptably did Prof. Wright fill 
the position that at the eighth convention in May, 1875, he was 
elected over six competitors on the first ballot. 

At the ninth convention in May, 1878, S. B. Fahnestock, of 
Duncannon, was elected over Rev. John Edgar. At the tenth con- 
vention, May, 1881, Junius R. Flickinger, of Madison Township, 
defeated S. B. Fahnestock, of Duncannon, for reelection. At the 
eleventh convention, in May, 1884, Prof. Fahnestock was again a 
condidate but was defeated by E. U. Aumiller. At the twelfth 
convention, in 1887, Prof. Aumiller was reelected over G. C. Palm 
and E. Walt Snyder, and at the thirteenth convention he was again 
reelected, his opponent then being John S. Arnold. 

The fourteenth convention, in 1893, selected Joseph M. Arnold, 
the other candidates being Silas Wright and J. Albert Lntz. Ah". 
Arnold was reelected at the fifteenth convention, in 1896, but later 
resigned and was succeeded by E. H. Bryner, by appointment of 
the governor. The salary was made $1,000 per annum in [896. 
At the sixteenth convention, in 1899, and the seventeenth, in 1902, 
■ Mr. Bryner was reelected, the latter time over John G. Wagner. 
The salary was made $1,500 in 1899, and $1,475, according to a 


provision of the state law, in 1902. In 1905, at the eighteenth con- 
vention, Mr. Bryner was elected for the third time, his competitors 
being D. A. Kline, S. S. Willard, J. L. L. Bucke, and F. A. Ham- 
ilton. Superintendent Bryner resigned in October, 1905, and S. S. 
Willard was appointed by the governor to fill the vacancy. 

The nineteenth convention, in 1908, brought the closest vote 
since the first election, when Rev. Height led William Brown by 
but two votes. At this convention the vote was D. A. Kline, 83, 
and S. S. Willard, 81. At the twentieth convention, in 1911, Mr. 
Kline had no opposition and was reelected. The salary was made 
$15 for every school up to 100 and $5 for each additional school, 
which made it $1,945. At the twenty-first convention, in May, 
1914, Professor Kline was again elected without opposition, for 
a term of four years, at a salary of $1,940. For the first time the 
convention was held on the first Tuesday of April, 1918, instead of 
in May. This was the twenty-second election and Prof. Kline was 
again selected without opposition. According to statute the salary 
is now $2,490. 

Of the men who have filled the position Rev. A. R. Height, 
Rev. T. P. Bucher, J. R. Flickinger, S. S. Willard, and D. A. 
Kline were college graduates. Silas Wright, S. B. Fahnestock, 
E. U. Anmiller, E. H. Bryner, and D. A. Kline were state nor- 
mal school graduates, and Lewis B. Kerr, Jacob Gantt, and 
George C. Welker were educated in the common schools and 
academies. It will be noted that Prof. D. A. Kline, the present 
incumbent, is the only one graduated from both college and normal 
school. While there have been twenty-two elections to the super- 
intendency and four appointments to fill vacancies created by 
death and resignation, yet but twelve men have filled that respon- 
sible position. *Prof. Kline has had four elections, or more than 
any other. Prof. Anmiller and Prof. Bryner were elected three 
times. Prof. Wright's name was voted on at more conventions 
than any other, being balloted for in the convention of 1866, 1869, 
1872, 1875, and 1893, being successful in 1866 and 1875. Of the 
appointees, Messrs. Kerr, Wright, and Bryner were successful in 
succeeding themselves. 

In 1 921, the State Legislature having created the position of 
assistant county superintendent, Albert J. Deckard, principal of 
the Marysville schools, was appointed to that office. 

*Prof. Kline was selected for the fifth time, April 11, 1922. 



PERRY COUNTY, owing to its small extent of territory, has 
never had within its borders one of the higher institutions of 
learning, neither has it had a State Normal School. It was, 
however, in earlier years, the home of a number of academies and 
soldiers' orphans' schools, two of which have grown into other in- 
stitutions of more than local note. The New Bloomfield Academy 
has become the Carson Long Institute, with students from all over 
the world, and the Loysville Academy, later the Loysville Orphans' 
Home, has become the growing Tressler Orphans' Home of the 
Lutheran Church in America. In the following pages an endeavor 
has been made to record the history and growth of these institu- 
tions, and the passing of those which no longer exist. 

The Academies. 

Perry County during the past century was the location of quite 
a number of academies, and their impress has been left not only 
within its borders, but from among the students at these various 
institutions went forth educators and professional and business 
men into many parts of Pennsylvania, and into many of the other 
states of the Union. The passing of these institutions, in a way, 
is to be regretted, for they gave to the boys and girls a chance to 
learn, near their own homes, more than the common schools af- 
forded. Of course the borough high schools have now largely 
taken their places in so far as the teaching of the higher branches 
is concerned. Of these academies the ones to remain in existence, 
the New Bloomfield Academy, now the Carson Long Institute, and 
the Loysville Academy, now the Tressler Orphans' Home, the his- 
tory to date is noted. Of the others time has erased much infor- 
mation, but briefly their history follows: 

The First Academy. From Presbyterian records it is noted that 
Rev. James Brady, of Carlisle, was called on March 10, 1803, to 
become pastor of the church at the mouth of the Juniata (prede- 
cessor of the Duncannon Presbyterian Church), of Dick's Gap 
Church and of Sherman's Creek Church. He was installed Octo- 
ber 3, 1804, and "located on a farm,, where he opened an academy" 
and conducted that work along with his duties along religious lines. 
He died April 24, 1821, and his remains are interred in the ceme- 
tery on the heights, above Juniata Bridge Station, at the junction 
of the two rivers. While the date of the establishment of this first 



higher institution of learning within the borders of what is now 
Perry County — for it was then yet a part of Cumberland — is un- 
known, yet it must have been soon after his coming, as is implied 
by the sentence, "located on a farm where he opened an academy." 
Should it have been at a much later period the record would likely 
have read "where he later or in later years opened an academy.". 
No name is given to the institution, so it is here designated as The 
First Academy, which, in point of fact, it was. The inference is 


that it was only a day school, but that the higher branches were 

Loysville Academy. This institution began in the basement of 
Lebanon Church, at Loysville, in the fall of 1853, witli Josiah R. 
Titzel as principal, and J. T. Ross as assistant, concluding its first 
term on Friday. March 31, 1854, with an examination during the 
day and an "exhibition" in the evening, not unlike the graduating 
and class day exercises of latter days. B. F. Frey was principal 
in 1856-57. The success of the academy from the beginning 
caused Col. John Tressler, who was a prominent citizen interested 
in education, to build an academy in 1855. It was a three-story 
brick building with an immense schoolroom on the first floor and 
with twenty rooms for students on the others. Its completion and 
dedication occurred the following year. The first principal in the 
new building was John A. Kunkelman, who was succeeded by 
David L. Tressler, a son of the founder, who in after years be.- 


came the first president of Carthage College in Illinois — the first 
native Perry Conntian to attain so great an honor in the educa- 
tional world. In 1862, when disunion was threatened, Mr. Tressler 
became captain of Company II, 133d Penna. Volunteers, in the 
United States Army, and with his company went many hoys from 
the institution. In 1865 it became a Soldiers' Orphan School, one 
of the first in the United States, with Capt. David L. Tressler as 
principal. That action destined it to become a perpetual home for 
orphans, for the attention of the Lutheran Church was thereby 
attracted to it as a home for orphan children, which it is to this 
day, being fully described in the following pages under the title. 
The Tressler Orphans' Home. 

Charity School. In 1842 citizens of Madison Township erected 
on lands of Mr. Samuel Hench a building which was known as 
"Charity School." Little data remains as to it. 

Andersonburg Academy. This academy was started by Alex- 
ander Blaine Anderson, in the house now owned and occupied by 
W. Scott Moose, in Madison Township, on the Blain road. It 
was once known as "Sunnyside Academy." Dr. W. R. Cisna was 
once principal, assisted by Rev. J. J. Kerr, pastor of the Duncan- 
non Lutheran Church, it then being known as Sherman's Valley 
Institute. As Rev. Kerr's incumbency at Duncannon was from 
1875 to 1878, the period was within those three years. In 1866 
Martin Motzer rented the building and turned it into a Soldiers' 
Orphans' School, under which head it is described in the succeed- 
ing pages. While an orphan school an additional building was 
erected and remained standing until 1919, when it was torn down 
and the timber which remained in good condition was used in St. 
Mark's Lutheran Church at Kistler. 

Ducme Academy (Strain's School). During the summer of 
1856 Rev. John B. Strain opened an academy, known as Duane 
Academy, in the dwelling of Mr. Jacob Super, near St. Samuel's 
Lutheran Church, in Juniata Township. It was later conducted in 
the schoolhouse which stood, on the ground now occupied by St. 
Samuel's Church. Rev. Strain had as his assistant his sister, Miss 
Hannah Strain. Dr. C. W. Super, later president of the Ohio 
University, now of Athens, ( )hio, attended this school for a term. 
Another student was the late Prof. W. C. Shuman, long principal 
of the Chicago Evening Schools, and a teacher in the Cook County 
Normal School. 

MarkclviUc Academy. On the hill at Markelville, then known 
as Bosserman's Mills, there stood a building locally termed "Wash- 
ington Seminary." In the spring of 1855 a school known as Buf- 
falo Creek High School was opened in this building. The law 
providing for the election of county superintendents of schools 
had just gone into effect during the previous year, and Rev. A. P. 


Height, a Lutheran clergyman, was made the county superintend- 
ent. He was also chosen principal of this school and filled the 
positions simultaneously. A year later, in 1856, the school was 
called the Buffalo Creek High School and Perry County Normal 
Institute, and in 1857 the first part of the title had been dropped 
and it was known as the Normal Institute at Markelville and so 
advertised, the name of the town in the meantime having been 
changed to Markelville. He was succeeded by Rev. George S. 
Rea, a Presbyterian clergyman, who in 1801 gave place to Prof. 
G. \Y. Leisher, later a Lutheran clergyman. In 1866 Prof. C. W. 
Super — now Dr. Super — tried to resuscitate the academy, which 
the fortunes of war had disturbed. He was succeeded by Alex- 
ander Stephens and Adam Zellers, in turn. As an evidence of its 
large attendance, in i860 it was attended by 112 boarding students. 
In 1867 George Markel erected a two-story frame academy build- 
ing in which the school was continued and the students boarded. 
This building had fifteen rooms for students and the basement was 
above street level and was intended for classroom use. It was 
Mr. Markel's intention to make the school a permanent institu- 
tion, but his death caused its discontinuance. Prof. John S. 
Campbell, of Newport, states (1920), "It is a pity that this man 
was called away," he having had personal knowledge of his ability 
and energy. 

Mount Dempsey Academy. Rev. T. P. Bucher founded the 
Mount Dempsey Academy, which he then called the Landisburg 
Classical School, at Landisburg, on April 8, 1856, its location being 
in the basement of the Reformed Church.* It closed about 1864, 
largely because the War Between the States called the young men 
td arms. Rev. Bucher was elected county superintendent in 1857 
and tilled that position in connection with his work at the academy. 
Later principals of the academy were F. A. Cast. David Evans 
(later superintendent of the Lancaster County schools), Rev. R. 
X. Salem, William H. Sheibley, S. H. Galbreath, Rev. G. C. Hall. 
S. C. Cooper, J. C. Sheibley, and Lewis B. Kerr (later superin- 
tendent of the Perry County schools). Rev. Samuel Wagner, still 
a resident of the county and long a noted minister, was one of the 
students. Many lawyers, physicians and ministers secured the 
rudiments of their education at this pioneer institution. The late 
George Patterson, of Landisburg, interviewed by the author in 
1919, while engaged in the compilation of this book, was a student 
at this institution in 186 1. 

Willow Grove Female Seminary. This institution was short- 
lived. It had its headquarters in the Judge Junkin home, one mile 
northeast of Landisburg, and was presided over by Miss E. J. 

*See church on page 202, in left foreground. 


Petherfridge, of whom the Freeman said: "As a female instructor 
she is inferior to none in the state." Board and washing was $1.50 
per week. Tuition was $4 and $5 per quarter. Other rates wire: 
French, $3.00; drawing and painting, $6.00; piano, $8.00. The 
attendance was limited to twenty students. This evidently is iden- 
tical with the school authorized by a special act of the Pennsylvania 
Legislature passed June 12, 1S40. designated as "a female semi- 
nary or public school for the education of female youths in the 
English or other languages, the useful arts, sciences and literature. 
by the name, style and title of the Landisburg Female Seminary." 
The act named John Junkin, Samuel A. Moore, Henry Fetter. 
James Diven, Sr., Peter Hench, fohn Stambangh, and James Mc- 
Clure, as trustees. 

Susquehanna Institute. In i860 Prof. Bartlett opened the Sus- 
quehanna Institute in the basement of the United Presbyterian 
Church at Duncannon, being the first principal. It was continued 
for a short time by Rev. William B. Craig, the Presbyterian pastor. 

Duncannon Academy. Largely through the efforts of Dr. T. L. 
Johnston and Dr. H. D. Reutter, who were its directors, the Dun- 
cannon Academy was established in 1890, the sessions at first being 
held in Pennell's Hall, and the following year on the second floor 
of Odd Fellows' Hall. Seventy pupils were enrolled in 1890. 
Prof. Thomas M. Stalford, of Athens, was the principal, and Prof. 
W. F. Kennedy, later superintendent of the Lewistown schools, 
assistant. Its life was but two years. 

The Blain School. For over fifty years a summer normal was 
conducted at Blain. but often under different managements. 
Among the instructors were such men as Gard C. Palm, S. E. 
llarkins, and Rev. Rentz. 

Juniata Valley Normal School. That a State Normal School 
was not located somewhere in Perry County is not the fault of 
Prof. Silas Wright, but rather of the citizenship of the communi- 
ties ; for Mr. Wright strained every effort to have it done. The 
general apathy — sometimes even yet displayed towards incoming 
things, industrial plants, etc. — was the barrier against which 
Prof. Wright's efforts spent their force, and the project failed. 
Looking towards the establishment of the State Normal School of 
the Sixth District within the borders of the county, the Juniata 
Valley Normal School was opened on April 8, 1867, in the new 
brick schoolhouse at Newport, for which $12.50 a month was paid 
as rental. The attendance at the first term was 14 r, a remarkably 
good showing. Two terms were conducted, the first being from 
April 8 to June 28, .and the s